SANTA TERESA, New Mexico (Border Report) – The Mexican government is vowing to expand its portion of the Santa Teresa, New Mexico, port of entry in the next 15 months in anticipation of explosive growth not only in the local industry but also in the manufacturing of electric vehicle parts in Mexico.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard says he expects the number of commercial trucks and passenger cars using the port of entry to more than double in the next two years – from 1,500 to 4,000 vehicles per day.

“Both countries want to modernize infrastructure and facilitate the crossing of merchandise and people because in the years to come we will see important growth and we want it to be orderly and correctly planned,” Ebrard said Wednesday after touring the port and meeting with maquiladora executives in Juarez.

Juarez has more than 300 U.S.-run manufacturing plants that produce parts and goods for Fortune 500 companies in North America and Europe. Almost half of those plants are linked to the automotive industry, which is rushing to put out electrical vehicles.

The Santa Teresa-San Jeronimo port of entry (Border Report photo)

“California, the No. 1 (automotive consumer) market in the United States, has decided that all of its new vehicles must be electric by 2035. What does that mean? That we must build factories to manufacture batteries, that we need to procure lithium, cobalt, copper and nickel, that we need to modify all of our industrial processes, that we need to accelerate the technology that goes hand in hand with electromobility,” Ebrard said.

The foreign minister says he recently met with U.S. automakers, and they told him they plan to bring 180 additional automotive assembly plants to Mexico to meet the demands of states, countries and consumers who want electrical vehicles.

“It’s primarily the production of engines, the accumulation and storage of (electricity), speed controls and such. This is picking up momentum (in the United States) and also in Europe, which is our second major export market for vehicles,” Ebrard said.

He didn’t say where the new plants would be located but, General Motors, for instance, has assembly plants in San Luis Potosi, Coahuila, Guanajuato, and Toluca. Regardless of location, the assembled parts must traverse border cities like Juarez or Nuevo Laredo.

Ebrard said the port expansion also caters to expected growth in Juarez factories, including the FoxConn facility just south of the Santa Teresa-San Jeronimo port of entry.

“We have very important pending investments. We have to work to procure water, energy, workers, highways, logistics, telecommunications and everything that goes with that because Mexico is getting many proposals for investment,” he said.

The Mexican side of the Santa Teresa port of entry. (Border Report photo)

New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said she shares the Mexican foreign minister’s projections for an increase in border crossings at Santa Teresa. She said New Mexico has also made monetary commitments to modernize the port and is waiting on research and funding to bring about an expansion.

“Global trade has always been a priority for the governor of New Mexico,” Keyes told Border Report. “New Mexico has committed $50 million to the Border Connector Highway, $20 million to the (Santa Teresa) jetport, $4 million to water issues here in Santa Teresa … (and) we are working with our friends in Chihuahua and Mexico City and (the U.S.) government to request and expansion and modernization of the port of entry in Santa Teresa-San Jeronimo.”

She also echoed optimism that the tri-state region of northern Chihuahua, Southern New Mexico and West Texas can cash in on the foreseen electrical vehicle manufacturing onslaught.

“We are really seeing a lot of manufacturing coming over to the United States. In terms of electrical vehicles and cars in general and also in (industry) coming back from Asia, I do agree with Secretary Ebrard. This is our time to shine,” Keyes said. “We are definitely going to see the Santa Teresa port expand dramatically in terms of number of trucks and traffic.”