In response to a significant increase in the concentration of migrants in various regions of the country and the grave safety risks associated with their use of goods trains for transportation, leading Mexican railroad company Ferromex has decided to temporarily suspend the movement of 60 trains. These trains, with a capacity equivalent to 1,800 trucks, were previously traveling to the northern regions of Mexico.
Recent days have seen a series of tragic incidents involving injuries and fatalities among migrants, including children, who have been boarding goods trains on their journey north. Despite the evident dangers, the number of migrants accumulating along rail routes has surged significantly. For instance, in Torreón, Coahuila, there are now more than 1,500 individuals on rail cars and in rail operation areas. Irapuato, Guanajuato, has over 800 migrants in a similar situation, and in San Francisco de los Romo, Aguascalientes, around 1,000 people are occupying freight gondolas. The route between Chihuahua and Ciudad Juárez also has more than 1,000 migrants in freight wagons. The temporary disruptions will impact rail freight services, production chains, and international trade.
Mexico's importance as a trading partner with the United States has been steadily increasing. In early 2023, Mexico overtook Canada and China as the leading U.S. trading partner, with bilateral trade totaling $263 billion in the first four months of the year. This growth is attributed to nearly three decades of free trade agreements, such as NAFTA and the USMCA, as well as increased investments in Mexico following the pandemic and the U.S.-China trade tensions.
The Mexican economy relies significantly on trade with the United States, as well as remittances sent by Mexicans living in the United States to their friends and relatives in Mexico. Ferromex's decision reflects the broader challenges faced by Mexico as it manages its role in international trade and responds to humanitarian concerns.