Mexican truckers claim unfair treatment

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By Jorge Arboleda

Drivers representing the top Mexican trucking association parked their trucks Oct. 4 on the Mexican side of the Matamoros-Brownsville border to protest the cross-border trucking program. Parked along the curbs near the entrance to the Veterans International Bridge, the drivers demanded equal treatment for Mexican and American truckers, according to the Spanish-language website of the trucking federation CANACAR, www.canacar.com.mx.

American truckers get preferential treatment in Mexico, while Mexican truckers on the U.S. side of the border get tickets for no reason at all, said CANACAR representative Alfredo Lartigue. “We are protesting against the demonstration project that allows only 100 Mexican carriers to get into the U.S., and 100 from the U.S. to get into Mexico, because the conditions for these two groups are totally different,” Lartigue said. “Only three or four American carriers have the equivalent of all the Mexican trucking units. Just considering the number of units of both countries, we are not in equal conditions to compete against each other.”

In 2005, there were only 168,225 two- and three-axle tractors in all of Mexico, according to the national agency that supervises Mexican trucking, the Direccion General de Autotransporte Federal. The 269,000 valid CDLs in Mexico include drivers of all commercial vehicles, including buses, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Representing 35 carriers and 150 owner-operators, the protest started when two trucks parked in opposite directions along Acci