Automotive logistics provider launches operations in Mexico

RPM, a logistics provider specializing in automotive freight transport, has launched operations in Queretaro, a city located northwest of Mexico City.

The aim of the expansion is to enhance services to automakers and automotive parts suppliers across the country, while also complementing RPM’s presence in the United States, Canada and Europe.

“We decided to expand in Mexico because … we have what we call a bicontinental presence already,” Sergio Gutierrez, RPM’s CEO and president, told FreightWaves. “We are already in Europe, we have been servicing North America, specifically the U.S. and Canada, for the last 10 years, but the last piece of the puzzle was Mexico.”

Royal Oak, Michigan-based RPM is an international shipping and logistics company specializing in finished vehicle and automotive parts shipping.

RPM will primarily cater to OEM suppliers and customers, with cross-border logistics service offerings that include transloading, border storage, through-trailer service, first- and final-mile transportation, door-to-door transportation, and spot and contracted services.

The company currently delivers about 40,000 finished vehicles and 15,000 freight shipments a month.

Gutierrez said RPM sees the global automotive production industry recovering to pre-pandemic levels over the next several years and aims “to be there as the first steps of the recovery start to take place so we can help our customers and expand our carrier network.”

“The [automotive] industry at large is recovering, things are getting better, there’s more volume of all kinds of either inbound or outbound freight, meaning components or vehicles,” Gutierrez said. “Now that customers have become more vocal than ever, they kept asking us how we could help them to maximize efficiencies by helping them to do cross-border services to move both inbound components and outbound finished vehicle logistics.”

Mexico has one of the largest automotive manufacturing industries in the world. It includes passenger vehicles, heavy-, light- and medium-duty truck makers, and vehicle component manufacturers with thousands of factories across the country. 

Mexico’s automakers generated more than $50 billion in finished vehicle production in 2021, according to Statista. According to Mexico’s National Auto Parts Industry, Mexican-made auto part sales totaled $5 billion in 2021.

The country’s automotive production industry is clustered around several regions, one of the largest of which is Queretaro, where some 80,000 people work in more than 350 automotive factories.

RPM has tapped Raul Ambriz to be vice president of RPM Mexico, where he will work to oversee the organization’s growth and strategy. 

“We want to introduce what we call the RPM concept, which is dealing with the same company across the border, without the need of dealing with a functionary in Mexico, and a different one in the U.S. or a different one in Europe,” Gutierrez said. “It is just about making everything so seamless through the system through technology.”

Tesla negotiating with Texas officials for $365M lithium refinery

Tesla is in negotiations with South Texas officials over a refinery project aimed at creating a domestic lithium supply chain for EV batteries, according to KIII.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) filed a notice in September with the state seeking special tax breaks for the proposed $365 million lithium refinery to be located in Robstown, Texas, about 20 miles from the Port of Corpus Christi and less than 200 miles from its Gigafactory Texas in Austin.

On Wednesday, commissioners in Nueces County voted unanimously to move negotiations between county leaders and Tesla to closed session. The commissioners confirmed that they are negotiating with Tesla on tax abatements for a piece of property near Robstown.

Tesla said the project is for the “development of a battery-grade lithium hydroxide refining facility, the first of its kind in North America.” The automaker plans to “process raw ore material into a usable state for battery production,” according to a recent application with the state of Texas. 

Tesla is also seeking up to $16.2 million in tax breaks for the lithium refinery over 10 years from the Robstown Independent School District. No timetable was announced for the commissioners’ final decision.

El Paso explores high-tech shuttle to move freight

City officials in El Paso, Texas, recently approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore the development of a cargo shuttle at the Ysleta-Zaragoza port of entry (POE), according to KFOX14

The MOU among El Paso, Freight Shuttle Express and the city of Juarez, Mexico, could alleviate traffic at the port of entry and bring more business to the area, according to officials.

The electric, fully automated cargo shuttle would connect El Paso to Juarez, its neighbor city, transporting freight back and forth across the border.

“Essentially, we are moving trailers from El Paso to Juarez, Juarez to El Paso, and bypassing the queuing at the port of entry,” said David Coronado, El Paso’s managing director of international bridges and economic development.

Coronado said the city will be studying the feasibility of the project and there is no timeline for a decision on whether to proceed.

Automotive parts supplier to build 2nd factory in Mexico

Michigan-based Dayco recently announced it will build its second plant in the Mexican city of San Luis Potosi with an investment of $11.5 million.

The factory, which will create 100 jobs, will produce belts for passenger vehicles. The facility is scheduled to be operational in 2024. San Luis Potosi is located about 260 miles north of Mexico City.

“This is a strategic investment that allows us to expand Dayco’s presence in North America and … the company’s global presence,” John Kinnick, president of Dayco’s global belting division, said in a news release.

Dayco manufactures and distributes engine drive systems and aftermarket services for cars, heavy-duty trucks, construction, agriculture and industrial applications. The company has more than 40 locations in 22 countries and over 3,600 employees.

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