Rotting fruit, spoiled vegetables: How Texas just made the supply chain even worse

A weeklong protest by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott against President Biden’s recent immigration policy reached a resolution on Friday, but the gridlock it created has resulted in hundreds of millions of lost dollars and delays in shipments of everything from avocados to automobile parts that will have a longer-term impact.

On Friday, Abbott reversed course on an order he put in place last week that required lengthier “enhanced safety inspections” of commercial vehicles entering Texas. The efforts, he said, were to help stop the flow of illegal contraband and human trafficking.

Abbott’s move, which Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller criticized as “political theater,” ultimately created a logjam of trucks between the US and its largest goods trading partner. Vegetable producers say their produce is spoiling in idling trucks and they are losing hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mexico is a critical supplier of vehicles, automotive parts, electrical machinery, chemicals and agricultural goods. Nearly $9 billion of fresh produce crosses the Texas border from Mexico each year, said Dante L. Galeazzi, CEO and president of the Texas International Produce Association. And for the past week, that produce has been held hostage, with businesses and goods “being used as bargaining chips,” Galeazzi said.