Customs broker sees tremendous growth in Rio Grande Valley division
A Texas-based customs brokerage firm is celebrating its 15th year in business and is seeing tremendous growth at its location in the Rio Grande Valley.
Logistica Customs Brokerage was founded 15 years ago in El Paso by Federico Felhaber, a now 30-year veteran of the customs brokerage industry. He opened an office in McAllen 10 years ago, and he said that division is experiencing robust year-over-year increases in business.
“I have been a licensed customs broker for 30 years, and worked in business with my brother for the first 15 years until I decided to open my own brokerage in El Paso,” he said. “Then, 10 years ago, one of my clients noted that the Rio Grande Valley was about to explode, and he recommended that I open an office there.”
Felhaber said the move has been a boon to his business, with the Rio Grande Valley now the top crossing point for Mexican produce.
“Once the highway system opened from Durango (Mexico) to McAllen, Pharr Bridge became a much more strategic crossing point for produce headed to the Northeast,” he said. “Not only are freight rates much better, but a shorter trip means fresher product.”
Commenting on the growth of the Rio Grande Valley during the past decade, Felhaber said, “When I opened the McAllen division of Logistica, there were few customs brokerages and cold storage warehouses. Now there are well over 50.”
With so many players in the space, one might think it is difficult to stand out. But Felhaber said his 30 years of experience makes Logistica a top option.
“The advantage of using Logistica is definitely our experience,” said Felhaber. “In my 30 years as a licensed customs broker, there is nothing I haven’t seen. We know what paperwork is required, what agencies we need to work with, and in many cases, we have been working with the same inspectors for many years, so we have the right relationships. We are able to get faster clearance and expedite deliveries.”
Logistica offers cold storage services at the McAllen division, and its warehouse has three distinct cold zones: 34 degrees for products such as broccoli, cilantro and carrots; 38 degrees for avocados; and 45 degrees for limes and tomatoes.
“We’re able to store any fruit or vegetable at the correct temperature to make sure it stays in optimal condition,” said Felhaber. “Also we are Primus-certified, so we operate under the strictest standards in the industry.”