Pharr bridge officials and representatives from Reynosa’s maquila trade association have agreed to work together in readiness for increased truck crossings associated with the new Kia auto plant in Monterrey.
Kia Motors, South Korea’s second largest automobile manufacturer, is currently building a massive, highly automated, $1 billion manufacturing plant on the outskirts of Monterrey. It will have an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles. Kia plans to produce a range of compact models at the plant, which is slated to begin operations in 2016.
Alex Avila, president of INDEX Reynosa, the trade association that represents 150 maquiladora plants in Reynosa, predicted many of the second and third tier suppliers to the Kia plant will be based in Reynosa. He wants the Pharr International Bridge to be able to cope with the projected increased truck traffic.
“Kia is going to have a big impact on us because their suppliers are going to be around our area. Many of the second, third, and fourth tier suppliers will be based in Reynosa, Avila predicted. Asked why those suppliers would not be based in Monterrey itself, Avila said: “Monterrey does not have sufficient infrastructure.” Asked why those auto part suppliers would not be based in Nuevo Laredo, Avila said: “We are closer to Monterrey. The plant is on the outskirts of Monterrey, nearer to us than Laredo. Laredo is more of a bypass. They do not have the infrastructure or the people. This is where the action is going to be.”
Avila made his comments in an interview with the Rio Grande Guardian at the end of a two-hour meeting with Pharr International Bridge officials on Friday morning. The meeting was arranged after Avila – in the pages of the Rio Grande Guardian on Wednesday – criticized long wait times on the Pharr International Bridge. He said he was also unhappy that Anzalduas International Bridge still cannot take southbound empty trucks.
In his interview with the Rio Grande Guardian on Friday, Avila said Pharr officials should not only expect increased truck traffic because of the Kia auto plant but also because of the impact of the new Mazatlán-Matamoros superhighway and the decision of many large manufacturing companies to move their plants from Asia to Mexico.
“Take LG, the big electronics firm, as an example. It is bringing its supply chain over here. We are seeing a growth pattern. In the last few months we have had four or five new maquiladoras open. Everyone wants to regionalize, in the Americas, in Asia, in Asia-Pacific, in Europe. There is a move away from globalization towards regionalization. They are coming over here because they see a benefit to being where their customer is. Take LG, their customer base in the United States. They do not want to fly their supplier parts in. Their suppliers will be in Reynosa, near their plant, but, as always, it will benefit the Rio Grande Valley also.”
Avila was joined in the meeting with Pharr bridge officials by Martha Ramos, director of INDEX Reynosa. Asked how the meeting went, Avila said…
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