Fleet Management

Cross-Border Freight Value Falls During June

August 27, 2015

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Percent change in value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows by mode: June 2014 - 2015. Graphic: U.S. DOT.
Percent change in value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows by mode: June 2014 - 2015. Graphic: U.S. DOT.

The value of freight moved between the U.S. and its North America Free Trade Agreement partners fell in June, according to a new Transportation Department report, totaling $99 billion, as all modes except truck carried less freight.

The 3.8% overall drop from June 2014 came as there were large decreases in the value of trade with Canada and Mexico by pipeline and vessel due to the reduced unit price of mineral fuel shipments. 

In June compared to June 2014, the value of commodities moving by truck increased by 5.1%, while rail decreased by 4.5% and air by 8.9%. Vessel freight values decreased by 24.4% and pipeline freight decreased by 40%.

Trucks carried 65% of U.S.-NAFTA freight and was the most heavily used mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $33.2 billion of the $53.8 billion of imports, 61.6%, and $31.2 billion of the $45.2 billion of exports, or 69%

U.S.-Canada Freight Posts Big Drop

The value of U.S.-Canada freight totaled $52 billion in June, down 10.3% from June 2014, as all modes of transportation carried a lower value of U.S.-Canada freight than a year earlier. A recession in Canada likely contributed to the decrease of U.S.-Canada freight flows, according to the department, although no organization has officially labeled the country as being in an economic decline.

The top commodity category for all modes transported between the U.S. and Canada was vehicles and parts, of which $5.8 billion, or 60.8%, moved by truck and $3.5 billion, or 36%, moved by rail. Vehicles and parts replaced mineral fuels as the top commodity in March 2015 and continued to be the top commodity for a fourth straight month

Trucks carried 59.7% of the $52 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 15.2%; pipeline, 8.8%; vessel, 5.4%; and air, 4.3%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.7% of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

U.S.-Mexico Freight Moves Higher

The value of U.S.-Mexico freight totaled $47.1 billion in June, up 4.4% from a year earlier, as three out of five transportation modes; truck, rail and air; carried more U.S.-Mexico freight than in June 2014.

Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Mexico truck freight rose 10.5%, the largest percentage increase of any mode.

The top commodity category for all modes transported between the U.S. and Mexico in June 2015 was vehicles and parts, of which $4.7 billion, or 51.8%, moved by truck and $3.8 billion, or 41.7%, moved by rail.

Trucks carried 70.8% of the $47.1 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 14.4%; vessel, 8.7%; air, 2.8 %; and pipeline, 0.8%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 86% of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.

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