New produce inspection facility dedicated in Los Indios

HARLINGEN — A new cold storage inspection facility at the Los Indios international bridge will give produce importers a new alternative when entering the United States.

The new facility will be used by federal inspectors to ensure produce from Mexico is free of agricultural pests.

“This will transform our port of entry as we secure our nation and facilitate legitimate trade and travel with this project,” said Petra Horne, U.S. Customs and Border Protection port director for the Port of Brownsville.

“It will bring enormous impact not only to Los Indios, Brownsville, San Benito, Harlingen and local communities, but also to the United States,” she added.

It is anticipated the new station will mean more border trade traffic for the underutilized Free Trade Bridge at Los Indios crossing.

The Los Indios crossing will provide Mexican truckers with an alternative to the often crowded Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, which has its own cold storage inspection facility and a well-developed infrastructure on both sides of the border.

“One of the comments that was made was sometimes it’s a concern where there may be some competing interests here in the Valley,” Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. told the crowd. “I don’t look at it like that at all. All we’re trying to do is actually increase the size of the pie.

“Pharr’s been very successful in what they’re doing, and we just want to go ahead and piggyback on that and add to it for the entire region and the entire Valley,” Trevino added.

“We’re looking to them for advice and guidance and we’re hoping that we can make that pie bigger for the entire Valley,” Trevino said.

Friday morning’s kickoff ceremony was attended by about 200 people, including U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers, local elected officials and representatives of the Mexican federal government and the state government of Tamaulipas.

Such representation was a symbolic measure of support for the new inspection facility on both sides of the border.

The cold storage inspection facility is separate from another construction project at the Los Indios bridge, the Border Safety Inspection Facility which sits right beside it. That checkpoint, when complete, will allow Texas Department of Public Safety inspectors to ensure trucks arriving from Mexico meet U.S. highway safety standards.