A restriction barring Mexico-domiciled carriers from leasing commercial vehicles to U.S. carriers to haul freight inside the U.S. and beyond commercial zones on the border has been lifted, per a notice published this week in the Federal Register from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The restriction was set with the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, which established FMCSA, and was to be kept in place until certain obligations in the North American Free Trade Agreement had been met. To meet these obligations, FMCSA conducted the U.S.-Mexico Cross Border Long-Haul Trucking Pilot Program from 2011 through 2014 to determine the ability of Mexican motor carriers to operate safely in the U.S.
Although the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General determined the program had too few Mexican carrier participants, FMCSA moved forward anyway and, in January 2015, began accepting applications from Mexico-based haulers for operating authority, meeting the NAFTA obligations and lifting the restriction.
FMCSA says Mexico-domiciled carriers are now allowed to lease equipment to U.S. motor carriers regardless of where the freight is going, as long as the equipment is up to FMCSA regulations.
In such cases, the U.S. carrier assumes “complete responsibility for the operation of the equipment for the duration of the lease,” FMCSA adds.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in HWT’s sister publication, Commercial Carrier Journal.