PHOENIX – Just a year after beginning a study to determine how to improve efficiency and consistency at Arizona’s three primary international ports of entry, Arizona Department of Transportation officials already are seeing improvements that make the state a more attractive route for commercial carriers.
“While safety remains our No. 1 goal, we want to be as efficient as possible at helping commerce move across the border and into Arizona’s economy,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “By working closely with international trucking interests, we are supporting commercial traffic and boosting the economy not just in Arizona but along the Interstate 10 corridor and across the nation.”
These successes stem from ADOT’s use of a statewide systems approach championed by Gov. Doug Ducey for improving state government operations. The Arizona Management System empowers employees at state agencies to come up with innovative ways to better serve customers, including taxpayers, visitors to Motor Vehicle Division offices and trucking companies using Arizona’s ports of entry.
Commercial trucks entering the United States at Nogales, Douglas and San Luis are vital to Arizona’s economy. In 2015, about $30 billion in combined imports and exports crossed the international border at those three spots.
Yet Arizona officials were seeing a troubling trend: Some commercial trucking companies were using ports at Calexico, California, and Laredo, Texas, rather than coming through Arizona, even if Arizona was a more direct option. Companies said that higher costs associated with crossing the border in Arizona – including time lost during inspections, fines for violations and higher insurance rates – helped steer them elsewhere.