Fresh Produce Association: ADOT's Border Liaison Unit providing a great service

Fresh Produce Association: ADOT's Border Liaison Unit providing a great service

March 23, 2017

Mexico - USA sign

By Tom Herrmann / ADOT Communications

Georgina Felix knows more about moving fresh produce from Mexican farms to American tables than just about anyone. She is international affairs director for the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, dedicated to ensuring that people in Arizona and across the county have uninterrupted access to fresh, high-quality Mexican-grown fruits and vegetables.

And when the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Border Liaison Unit met with produce industry leaders recently at the association’s offices in Nogales, she liked what she saw.

“For the produce industry, delays at the border are a big issue,” she said. “Our products lose value if they sit at the border for too long. The more efficient a border crossing can be, the better is will be for our industry.”

As we shared earlier this month, Border Liaison Unit members have been visiting border communities to teach truck drivers, mechanics and trucking company leaders about ADOT’s safety inspection program. The idea: If truckers can correct any safety issues before they reach the border, there is less chance of a costly, time-consuming delay at the border to fix such issues as bad brakes, worn tires or improperly secured loads.

The goal is to make border crossings efficient while at the same time ensuring safe vehicles on Arizona roads.

“BLU is a very well-created program that will help the trucking industry better understand what is expected at the border and a create better relationship between ADOT and our industry,” Felix said just a few miles from the border crossing where more Mexican produce enter the U.S. than any other port.

Safety is just as important as efficiency, she said. “BLU makes the roads safer because they are making people more aware of what to look for. They can be sure their trucks are safe.”

ADOT plans to hold BLU training sessions in Mexico later this year, something that has not been done before.

“The training sessions are going to provide drivers with better understanding of what areas they have to address,” Felix said. “This is a great initiative that will help the industry very much.”