Calculating transit times for freight shipments from Canada and the United States to Mexico

 In Conestoga, Double-drops, Flatbeds, Freight, Shipping to Mexico, Step-decks, Trucking

The transit times of a load depends on different factors: the route, the driver’s driving times and rest periods, the holidays, the weather, among others. In this posts, we present the elements that must be added to the equation when calculating the total time necessary to transport a load between Canada or the United States to Mexico and vice versa.

Selecting the route between the origin and destination

The first step to calculate the transit times is to choose a route between the origin and the destination point, obtain the distance in miles or KM and calculate the time. Regularly, we calculate 550 miles per day.

It sounds simple, however, it’s not just a matter of checking the shortest route in Google Maps and measuring distance. Not all road routes have the conditions to transport cargo. Grosso modo, roads are classified as roads for transporting goods and roads for transporting people. The type of road chosen for freight transportation depends on the local infrastructure, the weight and volume of an individual shipment, and the type of goods transported.

Another factor to consider in the selection of the route is the border point through which the cargo will be transported. The most common border crossing point for transporting freight from the United States to Mexico is Laredo, TX, which covers 57.8% of the cross-border trade that passes through Texas. However, there are other border crossing points with a significant volume of cargo, such as Otay Mesa, CA, El Paso, TX, Hidalgo, TX, Nogales, AZ, Calexico East, CA, Brownsville, TX, among others.


Driver’s rest times

In the United States and Canada, and recently in Mexico, there are regulations that establish the obligatory rest time for freight transport drivers. In general:

In Canada, a driver must drive a maximum of 13 hours per day or per shift. In order to drive again, the driver must be Off-Duty for 8 consecutive hours.

In the United States, a driver can drive for a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours out of service. In addition, a 30-minute break should be taken within each 8-hour driving period.

In Mexico, the maximum driving time is 14 hours, after which the driver must take an 8-hour break. In addition, the driver should take a break of 30 minutes every 5 hours.

Some companies, such as Mexicom Logistics, offer team driving for long routes or when transporting loads at night. Having two drivers transporting the load reduces the impact of the mandatory rest times in the total transit time and increases the driver’s safety.

Related articles: Entry into force of the new Driving and Rest Times Rule for Drivers in Mexico

Inspection and delays at the border crossing

The border crossing process between the United States and Mexico includes three steps: 1) Freight transport from the origin to USA-MEX the border crossing. 2)Freight transport between the two borders, which is a movement made by the “transfer” 3)Freight transport from the USA-MEX border crossing to the final destination. This implies that the time required to inspect cargo and the transfer time must be added to the total calculation of the transit time. Generally, 2 days are considered for the border crossing.

Related articles: Understanding the USA-Mexico shipping process

Trucks availability

The laws of supply and demand dictate the type of equipment available to transport loads. Finding a truck available to transport a full truckload or “FTL” in a Dry Van will take less time (between 1 and 2 days) than finding a lowboy to transport an oversized load (between 2 and 3 days) or finding a truck to transport a refrigerated consolidated cargo (between 4 and 5 days). Usually, flatbeds, step-decks or double-drops are equipment with less availability than Dry Vans.

In order to reduce the time to find a specific truck available to transport cargo, we advise you to contact companies with a wide carrier’s network. It’s vast network of providers and alliances allows Mexicom Logistics to find flatbeds, lowboys and double drops available to pick up your load with one day notice, while its competitors do so in two or three days.

Weather conditions

The impact of weather conditions on cargo transport is imminent. Here are some facts: 23% of the delays are caused by weather conditions. High-intensity rains affect drivers’ visibility and slow down by 25%, while snow and ice cause 50% of all weather-related delays. When calculating the time it will take for your cargo to reach its destination, it is a good idea to take a look at the climate present on the route through which the cargo will be transported.

Weekends and holidays

The holidays are just around the corner and, while Mexicom Logistics will remain open, the vast majority of cargo transportation companies will be closed. In addition, traffic on the highways will increase significantly: more than 107 million Americans are expected to mobilize via plane, train, and automobile between December 23 and January 1. This obviously will delay the delivery times of merchandise.

The good news is that at Mexicom Logistics is open on holidays to provide the most reliable freight transportation service from the United States and Canada to Mexico in flatbeds or other equipment.


Some examples of transit times on frequent routes:

Flatbed cargo transportation from Chicago, IL, USA to CDMX, Mexico

3 days in the United States section + 1 day in the Mexican section + time at the border and delays due to weather conditions.

Freight transport in step-deck from Pittsburgh, PA, USA to León, GTO, Mexico

4 days in the United States section + 1 day in the Mexican section + time at the border and delays due to weather conditions.

Freight transport in double-drop from Montreal, QC, Canada to Monterrey, NL, Mexico

4 days in the United States section + 1 day in the Mexican section + time at the border and delays due to weather conditions.

Marben Acosta Teran oversees the overall international B2B marketing strategy for Mexicom Logistics. She is passionate about building a solid brand while creating useful content for its audience. Marben loves learning more about the industry and being part of the Mexicom family.
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