Backlog of trucks at U.S.-Mexico border could impact meat, produce supply chains

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Some of your favorite groceries could be a little harder to find next week due to a backlog of trucks along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Trucks carrying meat and produce are stuck in park, further stretching a supply chain impacted by the pandemic.

Trucks are stopped for miles near the Pharr, Texas border crossing. It’s part backlog, part protest after Gov. Greg Abbott ordered all trucks to be inspected by state authorities after getting past border patrol.

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Florida’s agricultural industry has been shrinking since the early 2000s. Now, Mexican-grown fruit and vegetables can be found in every store, including strawberries, peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes.

University of South Florida professor Seckin Ozkul said some products like meat and produce may be scarce for a few weeks, but he doesn’t expect disruptions to last beyond April.

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In addition to the backtracking already happening, Florida gets some of its products through its ports instead of over land, and suppliers can always move more by sea.

Ozkul said he’s optimistic for another reason. Many shippers have dealt with stress for the past two years. He said adjustments have already been made to stock more inventory in the U.S. in case of shortfalls. Also, he said, many of the pandemic-related backlogs are beginning to clear.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.