C.H. Robinson has opened a new, 400,000-square-foot cross-border logistics facility in Laredo, Texas, as a growing number of companies buy goods and parts from Mexico.

The supply chain crisis of the last several years has sent U.S. companies scrambling to broaden their supply chain networks, including finding suppliers closer to the United States.

As a result of what's called "nearshoring," trade with Mexico has taken off, and earlier this year Mexico eclipsed China as the United States largest trading partner.

Increasing tensions between the U.S. and China and higher tariffs lodged by both countries also has pushed more trade with Mexico.

C.H. Robinson, based in Eden Prairie, said Laredo has become the largest port of entry to the U.S. — and increased trade with Mexico appears to be a longer trend, warranting the investment in Laredo. The company, one of the largest global logistics firms, did not disclose the cost.

"Much of the new foreign investment in Mexico hasn't even translated into new freight yet," said Mike Burkhart, C.H. Robinson's vice president for Mexico, in a news release. "We're already seeing double-digit growth, and we're just in the early innings of this nearshoring trend."

The Port of Laredo handled $268 billion in trade with Mexico last year, up 20% from 2021, C.H. Robinson said. Laredo's location near Mexico's automotive manufacturing center of Monterrey has made it one of the most important of the 21 official points of entry between the two countries.

"C.H. Robinson manages more than 1 million trucking, intermodal, ocean and air shipments a year in this region and has been continually growing here in tandem with our customers' growth," said Burkhart, who has been working in Mexico for C.H. Robinson for 25 years. "We meticulously designed our newest facility to give our global shippers the greater scale, speed and service they need as they move more of their interests to Mexico."

The new facility has been under development for the last 18 months. It has 154 dock doors and room for 700 trailers, making it is one of the largest in the Laredo area. C.H. Robinson now has three facilities in Laredo with a total of about 660,000 square feet of transfer space.

The company has been helping its customers with the logistics of moving freight from Mexico since 1990 and with Canada for more than 100 years.

There are significant differences that companies face between moving freight between the U.S. and Canada and between the U.S. and Mexico.

Chief among those difference is how freight is transferred. Freight between the U.S. and Mexico most commonly must be transferred to a new trailer, while most freight between the U.S. and Canada remains on the same trailer.

"It typically takes three trucks to bring a shipment through Laredo. A Mexico carrier brings the trailer to the border, a Mexico transfer carrier takes it across, then the freight is unloaded and reloaded onto a U.S. carrier's trailer," Burkhart said. "Because our cross-dock is significantly larger than most, has more dock doors than most and has dock doors on both sides, we can immediately unload freight when it arrives."

If you reduce load time by an average of 10 minutes, you can save nearly 60 hours in one day, Burkhart said.