The value of freight moving between the U.S. and next door neighbors Canada and Mexico posted its 14th straight year-over-year gain in December, according to new Transportation Department figures.
The value totaled $93.5 billion as all five major transportation modes carried more freight by value with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners as it posted an overall 7.4% rise.
The value of commodities moving by vessel increased 37.8%, pipeline by 14.2%, truck by 5.4%, air by 4.1%, and rail by 2.8%.
The large percentage increase in the value of goods moving by vessel was due in part to a 11.4% year-over-year crude oil price increase, according to the report, and a 22.2% increase in the tonnage of mineral fuels transported by vessel.
Trucks carried 60.7% of U.S.-NAFTA freight and continued to be the most utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $29 billion of the $50.5 billion of imports, or 57.4%, and $27.8 billion of the $43 billion of exports, or 64.6%.
Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 14.5% of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 8.4%; pipeline, 6.5%; and air, 4.1%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.7% of the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows.
U.S.-Canada Freight Value Jumps Nearly 10%
Comparing December 2016 to December 2017, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 9.5% to $48.7 billion as the value of freight on all five major modes increased from a year earlier.
The value of freight carried by vessel increased by 61.1% due in part to an increase in the unit value and an 42.8% increase in the tonnage of mineral fuels traded. Pipeline increased by 15.3%, rail by 10.1%, air by 7.2%, and truck by 6.4%.
Trucks carried 55.1% of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 15.3% followed by pipeline, 11.6%; vessel, 5.3%; and air, 4.9%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82% of the value of total U.S.-Canada freight flows.
The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $5.6 billion, or 61.7%, moved by pipeline and $2.1 billion, or 23% by vessel.
U.S.-Mexico Freight Value Rises More Than 5%
The value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows increased by 5.2% to $44.8 billion in December 2017 compared to a year earlier as the value of freight on three major modes increased.
The value of commodities moved by vessel increased by 28.7%, truck by 4.5%, and pipeline by 0.7%. Rail decreased by 4.9% and air by 0.8%.
Rail declined largely because the value of vehicles and parts it carried in December 2017 dropped 9.8% from December 2016, the department said. Total vehicles and parts freight with Mexico grew however, contributing to increases in truck, vessel and air in December 2017 over the previous year.
Trucks carried 66.8% of the value of freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 13.7% followed by vessel, 11.7%; air, 3.2%; and pipeline, 0.9%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.4% of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.
The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in December 2017 was vehicles and parts, of which $3.7 billion, or 45%, moved by truck, and $3.4 billion, or 41.4%, moved by rail.