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Companies are shipping more items by plane to meet customers’ rising expectations for rapid delivery, prompting a scramble for cargo space that has sent airfreight rates soaring and pushed Amazon.comInc. and others into the airline business.

Global airfreight traffic climbed almost 9% year-over-year in November, the start of the peak shipping season, and rates for airfreight were up 17% annually for the month, the biggest price increase since the aftermath of the financial crisis, according to cargo data provider WorldACD.

 

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico — Raúl García Miranda wants Carlos Flores’s job. Mr. Flores doesn’t think he deserves it.

The two men haul goods that travel from Mexico into the United States. Both come from a Mexican border town infested with drug cartels. But Mr. Flores got out.

He became a United States citizen, giving him the right to drive through the American heartland and earn good money delivering washing machines and broccoli sent from Mexico. Mr. Miranda, a Mexican national, doesn’t have that option. He can make only short trips, back and forth across the border, from a lot on the southern side to truck lots 24 miles to the north.

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