Port of Laredo Cargo Is Big Winner in Biden’s New I-27 Law

Designation Will Give Facility Access to Four Freight Corridors
Truck at Port Laredo, Texas
The Port of Laredo’s $320 billion in total trade last year made it the country’s top port when ranked by trade value. (Wall Street Journal via YouTube)

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Boosting U.S.-Mexico cargo movements through the Port of Laredo will be a key outcome of President Joe Biden’s recent enactment of a new law designating a future Interstate 27 in parts of Texas and New Mexico.

When Biden signed into law Senate Bill 992 (I-27 Numbering Act of 2023) on March 22, the Port of Laredo gained positioning to become the nation’s only port of entry with Mexico that will be accessible to four current or future interstate corridors: I-35, I-2, I-69 and I-27.

The Port of Laredo’s $320 billion in total trade last year made it the country’s top port when ranked by trade value. With over 5.5 million annual truck crossings, the port is home to 660 trucking/transportation companies, 250 freight forwarders and 120 U.S. Customs brokers, according to the Laredo Economic Development Corp.

The number of trucks entering the Laredo land port of entry from Mexico in 2023 rose nearly 5% over 2022 to 2.8 million, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics noted. In 2023, Laredo outperformed all other land ports of entry for trucks from Mexico compared to the previous year. In second place was Otay Mesa, Calif. (2.9 million incoming trucks, down nearly 2%), followed by Hidalgo, Texas (709,000 trucks, up 5.2%), Ysleta, Texas (641,000, down 1.5%) and Calexico East, Calif. (458,000, up 1%).

Mapping It Out

The roads becoming part of the interstate system are mostly in Texas except for a portion of the northern tip of New Mexico in Raton near the southern Colorado border:

  • Laredo to Sterling City (I-27)
  • Sterling City through Midland to Lamesa (I-27W)
  • Sterling City to Lamesa (I-27E)
  • Lamesa northbound through Lubbock to Amarillo passing through Dumas to Raton, N.M. (I-27)
  • The corridor north of Dumas (I-27N)

Aiming to strengthen North American trade, the new I-27 designation is part of a future interstate system called the Ports-to-Plains Corridor that will provide an alternative north-south freight corridor to I-35 to the east/I-25 that will connect the U.S. to Mexico and Canada.

Shortly before Biden enacted the new interstate law, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) released a statement favoring the I-27 designation that he backed.

“In the FY22 Appropriations bill, I secured language designating the Ports-to-Plains Corridor as a future federal interstate, unlocking crucial federal transportation funding to expand this important highway connecting Laredo to New Mexico. We are one step closer to seeing this become a reality,” Cuellar, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, noted. “I-27 will add $17.8 billion to Texas’ GDP and create 22,000 good-paying jobs.”

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