Borderlands is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of United States-Mexico cross-border trucking and trade. This week: Nuvocargo launches more efficient cross-border billing solution; Mexico implements new customs requirement; Freightcar America expands manufacturing plant in Mexico; and Morrison Express Corp. expands in Dallas area.

Nuvocargo launches more efficient cross-border billing solution

Cross-border logistics and shipping between the United States and Mexico can be a lucrative but complicated process.

With about $1.7 billion in goods and services traded each day between the countries, cross-border operators have to contend with everything from language barriers, international customs and regulations to local and foreign currency conversion rates and bank transfer fees.

Providing clients more control and transparency over the payment process is the aim of Nuvocargo’s new billing dashboard, available to all its customers at no additional cost. 

“We want to be an extension to our customers’ teams and help them manage all aspects of their cross-border shipments,” Deepak Chhugani, founder and CEO of Nuvocargo, told FreightWaves.

“Wherever we see that there are tedious and manual tasks and interactions with them, including processes around billing and invoicing, we want to step in and provide them with the software to help make them more efficient.”

New York-based Nuvocargo is a digital logistics platform for cross-border trade between the U.S. and Mexico. The company offers an all-in-one services platform, including freight forwarding, customs brokerage, cargo insurance and trade financing, in a user-friendly app. 

“When customers are looking for U.S.-Mexico freight, they typically have their own logistics department and very often might find themselves chasing down invoices from multiple vendors, in Mexico, in the U.S. and at the border,” Chhugani said.

“If you want to track down how much money do I need to pay or how much am I spending in my supply chain, that’s not the easiest thing to track down or the most productive way to spend your time, so that’s really the genesis of building this new feature for shippers.” 

Traditional global payment systems usually involve several intermediaries — which can sometimes create a higher chance for errors, along with possibly slowing down payments. 

In addition, cross-border payments can be a big slice of the expenses pie for organizations.

There will be almost 14 billion global business-to-business cross-border transactions in 2021, according to a study last year by Juniper Research, a Basingstoke, England-based technology research consulting firm.

Global cross-border B2B payments could increase from $27 trillion in 2020 to $35 trillion in 2022, Juniper Research said in its “B2B Payments: Domestic, Cross-border & Instant Payments 2020-2025” study.

London-based professional services network Ernst & Young recently said the value of the global B2B cross-border payment industry could reach as high as $150 trillion by 2022, with the total volume of cross-border payment flow growing by 5% annually.

Anaid Chacon, Nuvocargo’s head of product, said one issue for its cross-border shipper clients is figuring out how much money the shipper is owed by vendors or vice versa.

“It’s one of the biggest pain points we see happening on a weekly basis,” Chacon said. “At the end of the day, it sounded like a lot of that came out of people having different schedules and lacking cross-functional visibility. Everyone has their business rhythms that they’re subject to, whether they’re a big corporation or a smaller customer.” 

Chacon said she worked with Nuvcargo’s internal staff to understand how much time they were spending figuring out balances for Nuvocargo customers, how often they were getting requests for either changes or updates from customers, and what kind of documentation was being sought.

“We found the best way to improve this experience for everyone is, what if we could have a place where all of these parties could see the same information and it updated in real time,” Chacon said. “That’s actually been the game changer for both sides, because now our team just flows things as soon as they’re ready. The customer can pay on their own schedule and then kick off whatever processes internally that they need to do.”

Nuvocargo’s new billing features allows customers to:

  • Access their companies’ transactions and get a copy of their invoices anytime.
  • Explore outstanding and paid invoices.
  • Get payment information, including due dates and bank details.
  • Check overdue balance information.
  • Keep an eye on upcoming payments.
  • Download billing data as a CSV file.

“We were talking with a customer [recently], for example, that there is another system where they need to upload everything to get passed on to their accounts payable department, and the fact that we included a CSV download capability allows them to do that seamlessly. So he said something along the lines of, “I’m actually really happy whenever I see this feature, because I know that I’m going to get through the entire process in like 10 minutes instead of a couple of hours.”

Mexico implements new cross-border bill-of-lading requirements

The Mexican government will begin enforcing a new customs requirement Sept. 30 for transportation of goods within Mexico.

The Mexican tax administration (SAT) will require entities sending goods through the country to modify their electronic invoices — known as CFDI in Spanish — with a bill-of-lading (BOL) supplement.

The new BOL requirements to be added in the CFDI include type of transportation (national/international), detailed locations pertaining to origin and destination, travel distance, relevant domiciles, the quantity and description of the goods, vehicle identification number, operator’s name and domicile, and vehicle’s owner name.

All cross-border freight traveling by land, rail, air or sea through Mexico will be required to have the BOL supplement. 

The new requirements are aimed at ensuring the traceability of the products moved inside the country. Lack of compliance could incur penalties, according to SAT.

The Mexican government said it is attempting to root out shippers moving smuggled goods without paying the corresponding taxes. According to the SAT, 60% of the goods transported in Mexico have an illegal origin.

Freightcar America expands in Mexico, creates 300 jobs

FreightCar America recently announced plans to add two additional production lines at its Castaños, Mexico, plant by the end of 2021.

The company said it will invest about $60 million to expand capacity for the production of railcar lines at the plant. The expansion includes a large fabrication shop and additional wheel and axle capabilities.

FreightCar said the expansion will create 300 new positions at the plant in Castaños, which currently employs more than 900 people.

FreightCar America is headquartered in Chicago. The company has facilities in Castaños, as well as Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and Shanghai. 

Morrison Express Corp. expands in Dallas area

Third-party logistics provider Morrison Express Corp. has signed a 73,962-square-foot industrial lease in Grand Prairie, Texas.

The facility is in the GSW Distribution Center, between Dallas and Fort Worth.

The Taipei City, Taiwan-based company offers airfreight services from Asia to the Americas. Morrison Express also offers ocean freight consolidation and charter services, warehousing and distribution services, customs brokering, and cargo insurance.

Morrison Express operates over 60 global branches with more than 1,200 employees in Asia, the U.S., and Central and South America.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

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