Trucks carried more U.S. freight by value with its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico in April 2016 compared to the same time a year ago, but declines in all other freight modes led to a 3.2% decrease in the total current dollar value of cross-border freight to $90.4 billion.
That’s according to new figures released on June 23 by the Transportation Department. April was the 16th consecutive month that the value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight declined from the same month of the previous year.
The value of commodities moving by truck increased 0.8%, as the value of freight carried on other modes declined. Rail dropped 3.4%, air 10.4%, vessel 26.4% and pipeline 30.5%. A drop in the price of crude oil played a key role in the fall in the dollar value of products shipped by vessel and pipeline, according to the department.
Trucks carried 66.8% 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 $31.4 billion of the $47.6 billion of imports, or 65.9%, and $29 billion of the $42.8 billion of exports, or 67.8%. Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.6% of all U.S.-NAFTA freight.
Canada Freight Falls, Mexico Nearly Unchanged
From April 2015 to April 2016, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows fell 6% to $45.9 billion, as all modes of transportation carried a lower value of U.S.-Canada freight than a year earlier, due in large part to double-digit drops in crude oil movements.
For the month, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by all modes was vehicles and parts, of which 54.6% moved by truck. Trucks carried 60.8% of the value of the freight to and from Canada while rail carried the second most of any mode, 17%.
In April compared to a year earlier, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight fell 0.1% to $44.5 billion, as all modes of transportation except truck carried a lower value of U.S.-Mexico freight than a year earlier. Freight carried by truck increased 2.8%, primarily because of an increase in shipments of machinery, computers, and parts.
Trucks carried 73% of the value of freight to and from Mexico as rail carried the second most of any mode, 14.1%