Fleet Management

Trucking’s Share of Cross-Border Freight Declines

April 27, 2017

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U.S.-NAFTA freight value percent change from previous year over past 24 months. Graphic: U.S. DOT
U.S.-NAFTA freight value percent change from previous year over past 24 months. Graphic: U.S. DOT
Trucking was not a part of the overall increase in the value of freight moved between the U.S. and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners during February, according to new Transportation Department figures.

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $86.5 billion for the month, as three major transportation modes, pipeline, vessel and rail, carried more freight by value between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico

The 2.9% rise marked the fourth consecutive month in which the year-over-year value of U.S.-NAFTA freight increased from the same month a year earlier.

The value of commodities moving by pipeline increased 65.2%, vessel by 36.9%, and rail by 7%. Air decreased by 1.6% and truck fell by 3.6%.

The large percentage increase in the value of goods moving by pipeline and vessel was largely due to a 76% increase in the year-over-year price of crude oil, according to the department.

The top commodity transported by truck in U.S.-NAFTA trade, computer related machinery and parts, was down in value by 10.7% in February compared to a year earlier.

Trucks carried 63.2% of U.S.-NAFTA freight and continued to be the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $28.1 billion of the $47.2 billion of imports, or 59.7%, and $26.5 billion of the $39.3 billion of exports, or 67.4%.

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 16.2% of all U.S.-NAFTA freight.

U.S.-Canada Freight Moves 4.2% Higher

The value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 4.2% in February to $44.4 billion as the value of freight on three major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of freight carried on pipeline increased by 69.7%, rail by 6.3%, and vessel by 1.2%.

Air decreased by 1.5%, and truck by 2.2%. The increase in the value of commodities moved in pipelines reflects the increased value of mineral fuels year-over-year, the department said.

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by all modes was vehicles and parts, of which $4.9 billion, or 56.4%, moved by truck and $3.6 billion, or 41.3%, moved by rail.

Trucks carried 57.7% of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16.9% followed by pipeline, 12%; air, 4.5%; and vessel, 2.7

U.S.-Mexico Freight Adds 1.5%

From February 2016 to February 2017, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows increased by 1.5% to $42.1 billion as the value of freight on three major modes increased from a year earlier.

The value of commodities moved by vessel increased by 54.2%, pipeline by 9.5%, and rail by 7.8%. Air decreased by 1.8%, and truck by 4.7%. Like the Canadian figures, the increase in the value of commodities moved by vessel with Mexico reflects the increased value of mineral fuels year-over-year.

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico by all modes in February 2017 was vehicles and parts, of which $3.8 billion or 47.9% moved by rail.

Trucks carried 68.9% of the value of the freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 15.5% of the value of freight to and from Mexico followed by vessel, 8.9%; air, 2.7%; and pipeline, 0.7%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.1% of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.

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