US Firm Beats Out Chinese Competitor for Mexican Customs Contract

Photo: Rapiscan Systems


Mexico’s Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) on Friday, March 17, awarded the U.S. company Rapiscan Systems a contract worth $612 million for the total renovation of the nonintrusive vehicle inspection teams at 19 northern border customs offices and two southern border crossings.

The contract, which constitutes the most important purchase in the recent history of the customs system, was lower than the bid presented by the competing Chinese Nuctech Company because of quality issues.

Through the contract, Rapiscan Systems will supply and install up to 54 high-energy X-ray portals for nonintrusive inspection of cargo vehicles, up to 70 to inspect light vehicles, 18 portals for inspection of empty cargo vehicles and four for passenger buses.

Nuctech had bid about $621 million for the contract, but Sedena rejected its offer based on what it described in a press release as “lackings in technical evaluation.”

Sedena added that the new Mexican customs system must be compatible with that of the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which has banned Chinese technology companies.

Notwithstanding, a criminal indictment recently came to light in the United States against George Walther-Meade, an executive at OSI Systems, which is the parent company of Rapiscan Systems, and which, for decades, handled contracts in the Mexican customs sector, a fact that may lead to the Sedena reviewing the new contract.

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