The Tesla suppliers who travel from Nuevo Leon in Mexico to Texas now have their own dedicated border patrol lanes. Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company, which recently moved its headquarters from Fremont in California to Austin has made a deal to permit Tesla and its suppliers express access to the Colombia Solidarity checkpoint.
According to a spokesperson for the agency, Tesla has not been granted an exemption by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. So it appears that the ease of access is limited at the moment.
TechCrunch was told by Rick Pauza (public affairs officer at U.S. Customs and Border Protection) that there are currently only two lanes for northbound trucks on the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge. The regular cargo lanes and the Free and Secure Trade lane (FAST), are available for use by companies that are enrolled under the CBP-Trade Partnership against Terrorism program. There is no dedicated lane that Tesla or any other company can use.
At least six Tesla suppliers are located in Nuevo Leon, including APG Mexico, Quanta Computer and Taiwanese-based EnFlex Corp. Bloomberg was told by Ivan Rivas (region’s economy minister) that Nuevo Leon is quickly becoming an “electromobility hub” and that the EV industry will contribute between 5% to 7% to the state’s investment this year.
Rivas, although he didn’t negotiate this deal, expressed to Bloomberg that there was an economic incentive in the region to work with Tesla. He also stated that he hopes to do similar deals with other companies in the future, most likely with those who will position Nuevo Leon suppliers.
The Colombia-Solidarity border crossing is not one of Mexico’s most favored. there is a 26 minute wait time . The Colombian border authority in Nuevo Leon is increasing the number of lanes for Colombia crossings from six to eight.
This dedicated lane is for Tesla suppliers and company employees only. It can be found just a few miles north from Laredo in Texas. Between one lane for cars, and another for buses or empty trucks, is a green highway sign that reads “TESLA” in its iconic font.
TechCrunch spoke with four border patrol agents and customs agents at the Texas-Mexico frontier and two at the California-Mexico borders. All of them said it was unusual for one company to have access to a lane.
Tesla was unable to be reached as it had disbanded the press office. It’s not clear if the automaker offered anything in return for the dedicated lane. However, it is possible that the region wanted to host Musk’s company to bring industry and possibly jobs.