Arizona's stature in international trade is taking a giant leap forward thanks to the more than decade-long, behind-the-scenes efforts to promote more efficient and effective commerce.
The Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority will join federal partners to celebrate a bi-national ribbon cutting ceremony in Nogales on Oct. 15 to mark the $244 million completion of the Mariposa Land Port of Entry reconfiguration project.
This port to Nogales, the largest port of entry in Arizona, processed more than $42 billion worth of imports and exports at Arizona's ports of entry last year, and all indicators are that 2014 will set a new record.
The expanded Mariposa Port, which we call "The Port of the Future," is a significant asset that will increase statewide profits from increased global trade.
Throughput capacity for inspection will double at this facility that incorporates the latest in design and sustainable technology. Improvements will enhance competitiveness of the Arizona-Sonora region through the trade corridor that connects central Mexico, Mexico's Pacific coast, with Arizona and the western United States.
These infrastructure improvements did not happen by chance or overnight. Nogales business leaders, including the fresh produce and customs-house brokerage industries, came together in 2001 to forge a long-range plan to meet the future needs forecast for our trade corridor. In 2005, the Nogales community created Arizona's first port authority, the Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority (GNSCCPA). We focused on what was needed to make the ports of entry at Nogales more effective and efficient.
The GNSCCPA was one of the principal organizations lobbying for the fiscal year 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds that enabled this project to happen.
We also met repeatedly with lawmakers and key decision makers to make the case for increased staffing at the port. The GNSCCPA has become a mentor to other port groups in Arizona that are also seeking to build upon the expanding trade between Mexico and Arizona.
We are very proud of the results our small community has brought to our great state. We know what happens at Nogales impacts the rest of Arizona, and all of North America.
Mariposa Land Port is not just a Nogales project. It is an Arizona project, and it is a North American port. It the "Port of the Future" for world trade.
Bruce Bracker is chairman of the Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority. Matt Mandel is chairman of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas. More information is available at nogalesport.org.