Mexican railroad operator Ferromex has temporarily suspended operations of 60 trains on northbound routes in the wake of reported injuries and deaths of migrants attempting to use the freight trains to travel to the U.S.
Ferromex officials said on Tuesday an influx of some 4,300 migrants across central Mexico in recent days has disrupted the company’s train operations, including on several key U.S.-Mexico trade routes.
“Given the notable increase in migrants concentrated in various regions of the country and the severe risk that the use of freight trains for transportation represents to their integrity, Ferromex has temporarily stopped 60 trains so far, equivalent to 1,800 trucks, on routes to the north of the country, in the regions impacted by this social and humanitarian problem,” Ferromex said in a news release. “In recent days, nearly half a dozen unfortunate cases of injuries or deaths have been recorded among groups of people who, individually or in families, including children, boarded freight trains on their route north despite the serious danger that this implies.”
Ferromex said the suspension will disrupt freight services to its clients and urged the Mexican government to take actions toward alleviating the migrant crisis.
“The company has informed its customers about the temporary effects that the freight rail service will have on production chains, supply and international trade,” the company said.
Though not all of Ferromex’s northbound routes are being affected “by migrants seeking asylum in the U.S., the impact of the suspended train lines could hurt cross-border trade,” Jorge Canavati, a principal at San Antonio-based J. Canavati & Co. LLC, told FreightWaves.
Ferromex, which is owned by conglomerate Grupo Mexico, is the largest freight train company in Mexico, operating more than 6,835 miles of track that connects Mexican ports to major markets in the U.S. and Canada.
The company’s trains service Mexican cities along the U.S. border such as Mexicali, Nogales, Piedras Negras and Ciudad Juarez.
Ferromex’s decision to temporarily suspend 60 northbound lines comes at a time when masses of migrants have been traveling through Mexico in an attempt to cross the U.S. border.
On Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection temporarily suspended cargo truck operations at the Bridge of Americas border crossing in El Paso, Texas, amid an influx of migrants attempting to enter the U.S.
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