Quick guide for moving US Mexico loads - Northbound/Southbound

Posted by Kevin Hill on

Some of the most difficult, confusing, and time consuming loads you can handle are the ones going into or out of Mexico. 

You have the language barriers, the regulatory barriers, the customs barriers, and the culture barriers.  It can be daunting for those who have little or no experience.  

I thought I would write out a quick process guide for everyone moving both Northbound and Southbound loads. 

Along with the processes below, I’ve also included key terms, along with a few helpful links including a calendar of US/Mexico holidays, and current wait times. 

Southbound Process

  • The US carrier delivers to cosignee in Laredo, TX. This is typically a trucking company yard, trans-loading/cross-docking facility, freight forwarder, or customs broker. 
  • The load is then transloaded from the US carrier’s trailer to the Mexican carrier’s trailer.
  • The local delivery carrier transports the Mexican trailer to the customs broker’s yard.
  • Once the customs paperwork is ready, then the trailer is ready to cross the river. The crossing carrier takes the trailer across the bridge to the Mexican carrier’s yard in Nuevo Laredo. 
  • The trailer hits the Mexico carrier’s yard in Nuevo Laredo and is then dispatched (typically within 24 hours).
  • Once dispatched, the driver then must clear the final 26KM (Veintiseis) customs check point outside of Nuevo Laredo.
  • Always update customers on transit time from 26KM (Veintiseis) to destination, as the wait times at this checkpoint can be lengthy.

Northbound Shipments

  • Mexican trucking company delivers load to its yard in Nuevo Laredo and checks in with Mexican customs broker.
  • Once the customs paperwork is finished the freight broker contacts the Mexican carrier to send a messenger to pick up the “Pedimentos” for crossing.
  • Mexican crossing company transports the trailer (typically within 24 hours) to the shipping destination in Laredo.
  • Freight broker sets up a US carrier to arrive for pickup when the trailer crosses into Laredo.
  • US driver arrives, load is trans loaded onto the US trailer and the driver leaves the Laredo for US cosignee.

Key Mexico Terms

Through-trailer service – Cross-border shipments into or out of Mexico where the commodities being transported stay on the same trailer from beginning to end. 

Trans loading – Using forklifts or cranes to transfer commodities from US open deck trailers to Mexican open deck trailers.

Cross-docking – Using forklifts across a dock to move pallets from a US trailer to a Mexican trailer. 

Local Delivery  – from the trailer drop, transloading, or cross-docking facilities to the customs broker. 

Customs Broker – The Mexican trailer stays at the customs broker as the commodities go through the customs process. 

Border Crossing –Drayage from the customs broker to the Mexican carriers yard. 

Veintiseis – The second customs inspection point 26 kilometers inland from Nuevo Laredo.

The US-Mexico commercial border crossing process

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Wait Times 

US Mexico Holiday Schedule

1 comment


  • Thanks for the information. Question: Given that Laredo / Nuevo Laredo is but one border crossing point, is this process identical at crossings in CA and AZ?

    Scott Reynolds on

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