Fleet Management

Trucks Drive Cross-Border Freight, Hitting Record High Level

January 08, 2015

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Percent change in value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows by mode, Oct. 2013 - Oct. 2014. Graphic: U.S. DOT
Percent change in value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows by mode, Oct. 2013 - Oct. 2014. Graphic: U.S. DOT

The amount of freight moved between the U.S. and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners of Canada and Mexico increased in October compared to the same time a year ago, hitting the highest level on record.

New U.S. Transportation Department figures show it totaled $108.2 billion, 4.9% higher than during the same month in 2013, and is also 4.9% higher during the first 10 months of 2014 than during the same time period the previous year.

The value of commodities moving by truck grew by the largest percentage of any mode, 7.2%. Airfreight increased 4.9% followed by rail at 2.4%. Pipeline and vessel shipments declined 1.2% and 7.6%, respectively.

Of the overall $5.1 billion increase in the value of U.S.-NAFTA freight from October 2013, truck freight contributed the most, $4.4 billion, followed by rail at $400 million.

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners, according to the report, with trucks accounting for $33.8 billion of exports and $32.3 billion of imports.

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 15.1% of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel at 7.7%, pipeline at 7.3% and air at 3.8% The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.5% of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows during October.

U.S.-Canada Freight

Year-over-year, the change in the value of U.S.-Canada freight moved by truck increased the most of any mode during October, growing 4.7%. Freight moved by air increased 1.7% and rail by 0.7%. Freight moved by pipeline decreased 2.6% and vessel fell 14.7%, mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices.

Trucks carried 54.8% of the $58.6 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail at 16.1%, pipeline at 12.8%, vessel at 4.9% and air at 4.5% The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.7% of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

U.S.-Mexico Freight

The value of U.S.-Mexico pipeline freight rose 33.2% year-over-year during October, the largest percentage increase of any mode, due to an increase in U.S. exports of mineral fuels. Freight moved by air increased 11.1%, truck gained 9.6% and rail added 4.9%. Freight moved by vessel decreased 3.3%.

Trucks carried 68.5% of the $49.7 billion of freight to and from Mexico during October, followed by rail at 13.9%, vessel at 10.9%, air at 3% and pipeline at 0.8%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.2% of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.

 

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