Nogales Traded and Local Clusters—Economic Engines

Nogales, Arizona area has more than 3,700 businesses registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission. Traded clusters—or industries in clusters that serve markets outside the local region—are economic engines that bring new wealth into the region and generally offer higher wages and innovation. For Nogales, the major traded clusters are transportation, logistics and distribution that support regional Produce and Manufacturing. Local clusters—or industries in clusters that serve the local market—redistribute wealth locally without generating new wealth. These generally offer employment. In Nogales, the major local clusters are hospitality, construction, healthcare, government and education. The largest industries by employment in greater Nogales are federal government, schools and fresh produce wholesalers (EMSI 2014).
Cluster Profile

Nogales Number of Establishments

Number of Establishment
Nogales has substantial numbers of establishments that are involved in wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing. In fact, Nogales is comprised largely of small and mid-size businesses, with approximately half of these establishments having fewer than four employees. Almost all of these companies are smaller than 50 employees.

Industry Concentrations

The industries most concentrated in Nogales relative to the US are fresh produce wholesalers, support activities for transportation, un-laminated plastics profile shape manufacturing, refrigerated warehousing and storage and freight transportation arrangement. (EMSI 2014)
Industry Profile - Industry Concentrations

Nogales, AZ—An International Manufacturing and Produce Hub

Nogales, AZ is a highly specialized international logistics and supply chain hub for manufactured goods from Sonoran maquilas (twin manufacturing plants). Representative industries include automotive, electronics, aerospace, medical and consumer goods, and produce sales and distribution.

International Trade Volume

Goods move in both directions and use highly specialized infrastructure and talent on both sides of the border. In 2014, $15.8 billion of goods moved northbound from Mexico and $10.5 billion moved southbound to Mexico through Nogales. 301,000 trucks moved northbound from Mexico, as did 795 trains. (

Nogales is well positioned geographically to provide efficient freight service. For example, the Nogales International Airport has daily flights along with on-site Customs. Trucks can deliver next-day to Los Angeles, Dallas, or Houston. This next-day truck delivery is especially significant since Los Angeles is critical as a gateway for air and water shipping, and Houston serves as a port to Europe.

Transportation Infrastructure

MajorMarketsNogales, Arizona’s position as a key port has been impacted by U.S. and Mexico policies and investments, creating new infrastructure and commercial activity.

One significant investment is the Mexican government’s current improvement of Federal Highway 15, the major corridor that connect the United States to Mexico at Nogales, Arizona. Total investment will be approximately $2.2 billion USD. This modernization is underway on 800 kilometers between Nogales and Los Mochis with an anticipated completion by the fourth quarter of 2018. This portion alone is $ 1.1 billion USD.

Learn more about the region’s highway, rail and airport transportation system.

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