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New Mexico is in it for the Long Haul

New Mexico’s location, transportation infrastructure make it a logistics leader.

By Kevin Litwin on May 19, 2020

New Mexico
New Mexico / Marble Street Studio/City of Albuquerque

New Mexico has fashioned a well-deserved reputation for getting things where they need to go.

A strong transportation infrastructure includes a network of well-maintained highways and three interstates that crisscross the state, positioning it to serve several major markets in the United States, Mexico and beyond. In addition,

Class I rail carriers Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and Union Pacific provide direct service to ports in Long Beach/Los Angeles, Houston and Galveston that are approximately equidistant from the state as well as ports of entry at the Mexican and Canadian borders.

BNSF has established a Site Certifications Program that identifies optimal rail-served sites and conducts in-depth reviews of 10 economic development criteria to determine if the site meets stringent readiness standards.

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3 BNSF-Certified Sites in NM

Three of just 18 BNSF-certified sites nationally are in New Mexico:

“Becoming BNSF-certified is a great designation, as we really look to market Clovis Industrial Park,†says Chase Gentry, executive director of Clovis Economic Development. “Over the last 10 years, we’ve invested $5 million in infrastructure, and the park contains approximately 240 acres of prime industrial property that is currently subdivided into 25 lots. We are also a certified site with Excel Energy.”

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Gentry says the industrial park offers convenient truck access to U.S. Highways 60, 70 and 84. A main rail spur with two mainline switches provides rail access to most of the lots. Clovis Industrial now has two tenants – Quality Liquid Feeds (feed for dairies) and Renewable Energy Group (biogas) –leaving 215 acres remaining to lease.

“We are constructed to handle large truck traffic and heavy rail hauling,†Gentry says. “And because of the BNSF certification, businesses and industries looking to locate at any of our properties could save six to nine months of construction time as a result of this designation.”

New Mexico
New Mexico / Greg Latza

On the Borderplex

Another major logistic asset in New Mexico is a location in the binational Borderplex region, home to 2.5 million residents and one of the world’s largest bilingual workforces.

The region includes five major universities, three medical schools and three military installations. It is the seventh-largest manufacturing hub in North America and a globally competitive advanced manufacturing center, with over 340 significant manufacturing operations, employing over 275,000 workers.

In 2019, exports from New Mexico to Mexico grew by 68%, more than any other state. In fact, New Mexico’s overall global exports grew by 31%, also the highest in the U.S.

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Santa Teresa is a vital port of entry because it borders Mexico and Texas, with easy access to major markets, including Ciudad Juarez and El Paso. Commercial vehicles crossing into the U.S. at Santa Teresa reached more than 114,000 in 2017, up from just over 40,000 a decade earlier, according to the Santa Teresa-based Border Industrial Association.

Santa Teresa is also home to Union Pacific’s $500 million intermodal facility, one of the carrier’s largest operations in the U.S.

“It was a big effort to get the Union Pacific facility built nearly 10 years ago in Santa Teresa, and it has been a lot of fun seeing it grow and prosper with all the jobs that have been created since then,†says Jon Barela, CEO of The Borderplex Alliance, which promotes economic development for its three-state, two-country region. “The Santa Teresa area still has enormous potential for continued growth. It has an ideal location for competitiveness that is difficult to match.”

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