The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved a Mexican trucking company to operate in the United States, as the start of a year-long experiment that expands cross-border trucking between the two countries.

Officials decided Thursday to allow the Nuevo Leon-based Olympic Transport company to operate in the United States, while the Texas-based Stagecoach Cartage and Distribution is being allowed to deliver cargo in Mexico.

The agreement allows Mexican trucks to deliver cargo beyond the 40-kilometer commercial zone that runs along the U.S.-Mexican border. U.S. trucks will be allowed to deliver in Mexico for the first time ever.

Critics of the program say it will be difficult to get Mexican drivers to comply with U.S. safety requirements such as truck inspections and drug testing.

A report from the transportation department's inspector general submitted to Congress Thursday says every Mexican truck will undergo a security check at the border.

U.S. officials say they hope to approve as many as 100 Mexican trucking companies for the program before the end of the year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.