Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: AI’s rising impact on cross-border trade focus of new report; Mexican authorities recorded 142 tractor-trailer thefts in April; Texas logistics firm opens Phoenix location; and South Texas college launching CDL program.
AI’s rising impact on cross-border trade focus of new report
According to a new report from Eurora, AI and machine learning (ML) can help shippers comply with the diverse cross-border trade regulations enforced by different countries.
The report, “The case for AI in cross-border trade,” examines challenges faced by logistics providers and the e-commerce sector due to an increasingly complicated regulatory environment and how AI and ML can help streamline international shipments.
Chris Lentjes, Eurora’s CEO of U.S. operations, said AI and ML are hot topics.
“Some people think about AI as a robot, some people think about it as ChatGPT, and some are thinking about autonomous vehicles,” Lentjes told FreightWaves. “In essence, they are technically all correct; we’re all using various forms of AI to support day-to-day things that we’re doing.”
Eurora uses AI to automatically manage cross-border documents for requirements such as value-added tax, duty amounts, declarations and more. The company has more than 250 clients sending millions of parcels every day.
Eurora, which is based in Estonia, has its U.S. headquarters in the Miami area. The company has over 220 employees across 18 countries.
Lentjes said AI can help international shippers that have to contend with droves of customs requirements for each shipment, including the U.S. STOP ACT, Singapore’s new GST rules, Dubai’s customs duty charges, the U.K. Customs Declaration Service, Canada’s CARM importing regime, the European Union’s Import Control System 2 and Mexico’s Carta Porte Supplement.
Shippers and logistics operators also have to supply accurate harmonized system codes that indicate what’s inside a particular shipment.
“This is where AI can really help in that task,” Lentjes said. “If you think about AI’s functionality, it’s really about continuous improvement and how the industry can speed up where decisions are made in the supply chain.”
Failure to comply with customs requirements, or mistakes with cross-border documentation can result in generating higher tax and duties than goods are liable for. In a worst case scenario, a customs error could result in fines, seizures or delays of a particular shipment.
“Cross-border compliance is an increasingly changing environment,” Lentjes said. “Trying to keep up with this change and data and what’s required is key. I think that the data and the technology around it is super important, and AI is playing a function in how you transition that from a manual process into a more automated process to support the business.”
Lentjes said AI can also help shippers through dynamic routing, which involves determining the best route for something based on an existing set of conditions.
“Dynamic routing is not new, but what is new is having machine learning and then moving into AI looking with inputs such as weather inputs, or is there a strike somewhere, and bringing in live data that can actually influence the route in a dynamic, live fashion,” Lentjes said.
Mexican authorities recorded 142 tractor-trailer thefts in April
Highways across Mexico continue to be risky for truckers as cargo thefts rose 7.5% year over year (y/y) in April, according to Mexico’s National Association of Vehicle Tracking and Protection Companies (ANERPV).
ANERPV reported that 142 cargo trucks in its network were robbed or stolen during April, with a total of 519 tractor-trailer thefts from January through April.
During the first four months of 2023, the state of Mexico ranked No. 1 in cargo thefts with 150 cases, followed by the states of Puebla (97), Guanajuato (41), Jalisco (39) and Verucruz (32).
ANERPV said the day of the week on which thefts occurred the most during April was Wednesday with 20% of the total, followed by Thursday at 18%.
Over 31% of the cargo theft robberies were committed during the day, between 7 a.m. and noon. More than 28% of the cargo theft incidents occurred between noon and 7 p.m.
The Mexican Association of Insurance Institutions (AMIS), which also tracks cargo thefts, said that Kenworth tractor-trailers were the most stolen trucks across Mexico during the past 12 months, totaling 1,906 units.
Freightliner tractor-trailers ranked second for most stolen trucks over the past 12 months, accounting for 702 cases.
Texas logistics firm opens Phoenix location
Arrive Logistics has opened a 15,000-square-foot office in Phoenix.
The office will start with 30 employees but has plans to expand to up to 60 workers by the end of the year, according to a news release.
Arrive also recently opened an office in Columbus, Ohio. Last year, the company opened locations in Tampa, Florida, and San Antonio, as well as Guadalajara, Mexico, bringing its total to seven offices.
Arrive has more than 1,700 employees and a network of 70,000 carriers. Its customers include U.S. Foods, Kellogg’s Co., Dairy Farmers of America and Samsung Electronics Co.
South Texas college launching CDL program
Victoria College is launching its own truck driving course to help meet demand for truck drivers in South Texas.
Since 2006, Victoria College’s truck driving course has been offered through a partnership with Houston Community College. The new course will help meet the needs of the Victoria community, according to a news release.
The CDL program is being funded by a pair of grants from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board totaling more than $630,000.
“With the grant funding from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Victoria College is now at a place where we are able to purchase our own trucks and hire our own instructors, which will allow us more flexibility in scheduling training when it is needed most,” Jennifer Kent, president of Victoria College, said in a statement.
Victoria College is a community college in Victoria, about 127 miles southeast of Houston and 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.
The funding will be used to purchase four tractors for use in truck driving classes in Victoria and Gonzales, Texas. Grant funds will also be used to train instructors.
The new truck driving course will give the college the capacity to train up to eight students in Victoria and up to four students in Gonzales every six weeks.
Watch: the National Truckload Index remains stable at $2.22 rpm.
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