B2C shipping company chief says CT businesses missing new opportunity to export to Mexico

Press Release
SkyPostal Inc.
August 16, 2021
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B2C shipping company chief says CT businesses missing new opportunity to export to Mexico
SkyPostal Inc.
5 mins

Companies looking to export their goods to Mexico may not be aware that there’s a way to do so without going through the often onerous customs process.

Mexico has established the “recinto fiscal” (bonded warehouse), an area set aside by customs for companies to store, handle, and supervise merchandise related to foreign trade. Within the recinto fiscal, one can often find “recintos fiscalizados estratégicos” (RFEs), or strategic audited precincts, which allow foreign companies to store goods close to local customers for faster delivery.


A.J. Hernandez, president and CEO of SkyPostal, an international business-to-consumer shipping and parcel delivery company based in Doral, Florida, told the Business Journal that in some cases an RFE can certify the validity of content, tax  and delivery information about those goods without the need for Mexican customs inspection.

And Hernandez is speaking from a position of authority: SkyPostal was recently designated an RFE by the Mexican government.

“About a year ago, the chief of customs at Mexico City International Airport introduced a policy that made it much more expensive and tedious to import cosmetics,” Hernandez told the Business Journal.

Cosmetics is one of SkyPostal’s key customer sectors, he said. But by operating for so long in Mexico – and by receiving multiple certifications and posting a $1 million bond – the company won its RFE designation.

As one would suspect, maintaining that designation is a serious business. While SkyPostal is responsible for carefully certifying the products it is bringing into Mexico – and removing something illegal or questionable – it doesn’t exactly operate independently.

“Customs stops in at least every other day,” Hernandez said. “Sometimes it’s just a cursory visit, sometimes it isn’t. But if you are found dealing with something illegal, you could lose the $1 million.”

Transparency is also crucial, he said, noting that SkyPostal’s “massive” database of addresses and tax information is readily available to the Mexican government.

Security is also important, with SkyPostal closely vetting its employees and using armored vehicles for shipments.

Becoming an RFE required “going through a lot of bureaucracy, a lot of red tape,” he said, estimating that it took about 18 months for SkyPostal to win the designation.

“We’re in a unique position, because the bigger carriers – UPS, FedEx, DHL – aren’t recognized as RFEs,” he said. “This is a way for companies in Connecticut, and in any state, to get their products through customs more quickly and inexpensively.”

Since SkyPortal does not own fleets of planes and trucks as do its larger competitors – it buys space on other aircraft – it has considerably less overhead, he said.

SkyPostal also does not offer 24-hour express service, though Hernandez indicated that was not a barrier for most customers. “We’re also quicker than the Postal Service, and we’re cheaper,” he said.

There are 11 authorized RFEs in Mexico: Aguascaliente, Altamira, Ciudad Hidalgo, Ciudad Juárez, Ciudad de México, Colombia, Lazaro Cárdenas, Guaymas, Mazatlán, Tijuana and Veracruz.

Part of the reason behind establishing RFEs is the rise in e-commerce, Hernandez noted. “Especially during the pandemic, that became a much more important part of the business,” he said. “And customs is not built for e-commerce. They’re working under models that were put into place a hundred years ago.”

SkyPostal is now in negotiations with other Latin American governments about establishing similar relationships with their customs organizations; Hernandez said Chile would likely be the next to approve an RFE-type license.

Taken as a whole, Connecticut’s export trade to Mexico has been on the decline. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the value of the Nutmeg State’s exports to the country has steadily declined each year from 2017, when it was valued at nearly $1.04 billion, to 2020, when it was just $754 million. According to the Congressional Research Service, U.S. merchandise exports to Mexico totaled $212.7 billion last year.


Kevin Zimmerman



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