Posted on 08/14/2012 by David Radke
The troubled cross-border trucking program between the U.S. and Mexico continues to struggle, with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filing a formal protest of the latest carrier to apply to do business in the U.S, according to Land Line magazine.
GCC Transportes, a transportation arm of the of the Grupos Cementos de Chihuahua, recently passed the Pre-Authorization Safety Audit with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Its approval would be a major milestone for the agency, which has taken flak from the Mexican government for failing to approve enough companies for the program first laid out in the 1995 North American Free Trade Agreement.
However, the OOIDA argues that the carrier, based out of Juarez, Colima, in southern Mexico, failed to list any of five different carriers affiliated with it that have registered with the FMCSA in recent years.
"I am prepared to show that GCC is not a fit applicant and should not be allowed to operate in the United States," wrote OOIDA president Jim Johnston.
The group argues that, under the agency's own rules, incomplete forms are to be rejected outright, especially when combined with GCC's prior history of driver compliance violations.
However, The Trucker News Services reports that the FMCSA was also able to discover the existence of affiliated carriers during the initial safety audity.
"During the carrier vetting and PASA process, FMCSA reviewed its records related to the affiliates, and confirmed that the companies are in good standing," the FMCSA explained
Meanwhile, the carriers biggest issue for DOT compliance has been drivers who are unable to speak English, which is unsurprising given that the company's base of operations. Most of these violations stem from two drivers, however, and GCC has already notified the FMCSA of plans to send both for further English language training.
Other high scores in the agency's Compliance Safety Accountability program were similarly addressed.
"During the carrier vetting and PASA process, FMCSA reviewed its records related to the affiliates, and confirmed that the companies are in good standing," the agency noted, largely dismissing the company's 66.3 score on the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC.
While the OOIDA has expressed strong concerns about the renewed effort to promote the cross-border program, the FMCSA's Anne Ferro insisted at a recent industry conference that her agency has "raised the bar on safety," according to TruckingInfo.