Port of Santa Teresa with record trade from Mexico

Tony Hall is new port director for border crossing taking more oversized, overweight cargo from Juarez

SANTA TERESA, New Mexico (Border Report) – The Santa Teresa port of entry is a growing option for Mexican truckers shipping parts to the United States that are assembled at Juarez factories and is reporting record traffic.

More than 160,000 commercial trucks crossed the border at Santa Teresa last year, and early indications are that 2023 will be another record year, said Tony Hall, the port’s new director. The growth is fueling momentum for an upcoming multimillion-dollar border crossing expansion that offers an alternative to El Paso’s two commercial ports — particularly when it comes to oversized cargo that would otherwise have to traverse the El Paso-Juarez sprawl.

“There is a feasibility study that we hope to complete next year. At that point, we hope to finalize plans for a new port of entry (and) develop new technologies to accommodate the growth we’re seeing in Santa Teresa,” said Hall, who succeeded Fernando Thome at a ceremony on Tuesday the change of command. Thome is now the deputy chief of field operations for US Customs and Border Protection in El Paso.

Tony Hall II, new CBP port director in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. (photo border report)

Hall said the increased truck activity is creating commercial opportunities along the Mexico-New Mexico border. All three industrial parks in Santa Teresa, for example, are “completely full,” he said.

New Mexico Border Authority executive director Marco Grajeda agrees that Santa Teresa’s trade growth is a godsend for the region.

“We are very excited about the growth we have seen so far. In the last three years alone, we have been able to double commercial crossings and activities,” Grajeda said. “To put it in perspective, we cross 650 commercial trucks through the port of entry every day; In 2019 we exceeded 350.”

Grajeda said stakeholders are working on infrastructure to drive further growth. There’s the port expansion in the works, federal and state investment to build a road to smooth Texas-bound traffic, and improvements to the regional airport just north of the intersection.

“We are the port of entry for hazardous substances such as petrol and the like. We’re also the go-to place for oversized, overweight vehicles. We believe this port has a regional impact, so it’s not just New Mexico that’s benefiting, but El Paso and Juarez as well,” he said.

Mexico announced late last year that it would modernize its portion of the port, which is the preferred crossing point for 120-foot wind turbine blades.

“The work that’s happening in San Jeronimo (over the Santa Teresa border) is very extensive, very intense,” said Ricardo Hernandez Lacanda, Mexico’s assistant consul general in El Paso. “We are coordinating efforts between our SAT (customs collection) and the national tax office to be in step with the CBP. The ongoing coordination to improve this port of entry is a prime example of bi-national collaboration.”

Hernandez said Mexican authorities are familiar with Hall from his tenure as port director at the Columbus-Palomas port of entry and welcomed his appointment as Santa Teresa’s new port director.

Hall has also served as Assistant Port Manager in San Ysidro, California and ran the Trusted Traveler Program in San Diego. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso.