HARLINGEN, TX – March 29, 2017 – On Friday, March 24, 2017, a kick-off ceremony was held to announce the construction of a new Cold Room Inspection Facility at the Free Trade International Bridge at Los Indios. A partnership between the City of Harlingen, Cameron County, and the City of San Benito and federal authorities made it possible to fund the project and create an environment where produce shippers, brokers, buyers or sellers can feel confident that their cargo is in good hands. The Cold Room is a refrigerated facility located at a federal import lot within the Free Trade International Bridge, 100 Los Indios Blvd. It will serve to help protect perishable produce when produce shippers from the U.S. and Mexico travel through for inspection.
The three partners (Cameron County, City of Harlingen & San Benito) pushed for this project so both sides of the international boundaries could benefit from this new refrigerated inspection facility in order to help the produce industry grow. This facility will be located at one of the fastest routes in South Texas with the shortest wait time and will feature two climate-controlled rooms, an onsite USDA lab and inspectors. The City of Harlingen benefits from the addition of this facility as the Los Indios Free Trade International Bridge is off of State Highway 509, a designated overweight corridor and a direct route to Interstate 69E, the Harlingen Industrial Park, and the Harlingen Aerotropolis, as well as a short drive to the Port of Harlingen.
The City of Harlingen owns 25% of the four-lane bridge and funded for the construction of this bridge The bridge was in high demand by several trucking companies that wanted to benefit their businesses. As Raudel Garza, CEO of Harlingen EDC stated, “After speaking with several cold storage companies, in order to help the produce industry grow, a cold room for inspection was very much needed.”
“The Harlingen Economic Development Corporation worked closely with the General Services Administration (GSA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and American Electric Power (AEP) to make sure all of the requirements from each organization were met.” stated Lupita Gutierrez Garza, Chairwoman of the Harlingen EDC board. “Harlingen values establishing innovative partnerships.”