Regional Story

Business Opportunity

cranes at port

Be in the heart of the North American supply chain and experience opportunities unlike any other in the world. Here, you’re ideally situated between the major consumer markets of the West Coast and East Coast of the United States as well as the countries of Mexico and Canada. Located within this corridor, you have unparalleled access to production capacity, transportation infrastructure, and customers.

Unlike declining economies, the Rio South Texas region provides a long-term, sustainable foundation for success. This is driven not only by the dynamic, bi-national business environment, but also by the unique demographics of the region. Rio South Texas delivers a youthful workforce with a regional median age below 30, while the population is expected to rapidly approach 5 million people between the 7 United States counties and the 10 Mexican municipios combined in the coming years.

This young population, the growing education pipeline, and a vibrant manufacturing base provides immediate talent and continual skills development to industry. Combine this workforce strength with the strategic location and it’s no surprise that Rio South Texas is advancing past its national and international peers.

Stakeholder Industries

Because of our region's unique location near the longitudinal center of North America, industries related to the heart of the North American supply chain excel here. This includes transportation, logistics, warehousing, value-added manufacturing, plus traditional and emerging energy, aerospace, and technology-driven enterprises.

  • Transportation – A true multi-modal location including interstates, rail, ship, air and space travel
  • Logistics – A leader in the expedited movement of goods throughout the world
  • Warehousing – A strategic repository for North America’s supplies, products, and food
  • Value-Added Manufacturing – A dynamic partnership between countries to deliver the highest quality and most affordable production
  • Energy – A geological resource combined with processing facilities that include fossil fuels, solar farms, and ideal conditions for wind turbines
  • Aerospace – A growing industry with the recent expansion of legacy companies and SpaceX
  • Technology – A history of technology and mobility, advancing work in the automotive industry and related supply areas

Talent Pipeline

Students in classroom

The success of the region’s talent starts with a cultural focus on the significance of K-12 education. With a fast-growing population in Rio South Texas, school districts operate as the center of the community, driving investment in time and capital to support innovative programs including academies, training centers, CTE programs, STEM schools, and P-TECH schools. These programs are preparing students for higher education and trade opportunities.

In addition to this strong foundation in K-12 education, there are very successful community colleges & technical schools in the region, with South Texas College, Texas Southmost College, Texas State Technical College, and Laredo College as the most significant in Rio South Texas with additional colleges on the Mexico side of the region.  

Higher education in Rio South Texas includes the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) as a significant institution in the region, in addition to the Texas A&M International campus in Laredo and Texas A&M's McAllen campus. Rounding out higher education institutions, there is Our Lady of the Lake which contributes to the talent pipeline in the region, as well as higher education institutions on the Mexico side of the region.

Investment Attractiveness

In Rio South Texas, private business, economic development organizations, educational institutions, training partners, and elected officials work together to see businesses succeed here. International companies looking to invest in the United States are welcomed and embraced in a region accustomed to diversity as 25% of the population is foreign-born. Add to that the annual influx of Winter Texans, temporary residents who escape the snow up north to spend the cooler months enjoying our sunshine and palm trees, and a culture of “no one is an outsider” is prevalent throughout the business community and in everyday life. In Rio South Texas, you are welcomed to be a significant player in our economy and our community will support you in every step of your transition, from your first visit, to operations, and beyond.

Cost Advantages – Rio South Texas is a very favorable region to do business. Competitive land and building costs, plus reasonable utility costs, give your company an operational advantage. Trainable and unskilled labor is plentiful and accessible at competitive labor rates. Because the region sits in the middle of the North American supply chain and logistics providers are well established, your transportation and logistics costs are significantly lower than in other parts of the country.

Bi-National Synergy – Your business can leverage the unique value propositions of the United States and Mexico, down to individual processes. Industrial facilities in each country are literally one bridge away from each other, and tariffs are structured to your financial advantage for bi-national production.

Regional Assets

Ports and Airports

The region is home to three deep water commercial seaports and one shallow water port. The largest of the four, the Port of Brownsville, is a deep water seaport handling liquid, bulk, and container freight, allowing your product to be transported anywhere in the world quickly and efficiently. When the depth of the Port of Brownsville reaches its target depth of 52 feet, it will be operating at the size, scale, and opportunity level of the Panama Canal.

When it comes to air freight distribution, there are commercial airports throughout the Rio South Texas region. With this coverage, there is significant representation of the major shipping organizations including DHL, UPS, and FedEx operating with robust operations. The Laredo Airport in particular specializes in expedited shipments to move goods from production centers in the region to the rest of the world.

Foreign Trade Zones

There multiple Foreign Trade Zones throughout the region as is the Maquiladora (IMMEX) system in Mexico, which delivers preferential tax and tariff treatments for products moved within the region, then eventually shipped out of the region.

Key Partners

In Rio South Texas, the economic development ecosystem is robust and very well connected, with partners working together for the success of business. Leaders from the K-12 system, community college and higher education network, workforce development boards and training partners, plus community leaders, elected officials, and private business are all focused on supporting new and existing business to drive prosperity. Partners include:

  • South Texas Manufacturing Association
  • Maquiladora Association
  • Rio South Texas Economic Foundation
  • RGV Lead
  • RGV Focus
  • South Texans’ Property Rights Association
  • CODEM (The Matamoros Economic Development Committee)
  • COBIFER (Consejo Binacional Para El Fomento Economico de Reynosa)
  • CODEIN (Consejo Para El Desarrollo Economico e Industrial de Nuevo Laredo)

Doing business in Rio South Texas is truly a bi-national experience, connecting as business partners and friends on both sides of the river. This region fully leverages the opportunities unlocked and enabled through NAFTA and USMCA, identifying and maximizing the potential found in the integrated supply chain and manufacturing setting of the region.