The value U.S.-North American freight by mode in billions: 2016-2017. Graphic: U.S. DOT

The value U.S.-North American freight by mode in billions: 2016-2017. Graphic: U.S. DOT

Trucking posted the biggest loss of the five major transportation modes when it came to the value of U.S. freight moved between Canada and Mexico last year, according to new Transportation Department figures.

Its 2.2% drop in 2017 from 2016 came as rail declined 0.2% and air fell by 0.1%.

In contrast, the share of the value of freight moved by vessel rose by 1.2% and the pipeline share increased by 1.1%. A 17.3% increase in the year-over-year price of crude oil in 2017 played a key role in the annual increases in the dollar value of goods shipped by pipeline and vessel, according to the report.

Despite the decline, trucks continued to be the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both Canada and Mexico, carrying 63.3% of the freight transported. Trucks accounted for $720.8 billion of the $1.1 trillion in freight flows with Canada and Mexico in 2017.

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving $174.1 billion or 15.3%, followed by vessel, 6.6%; pipeline, 5.7%; and air, 3.8%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail, and pipeline combined carried 84.3% of the total value.

Trucks carried 60.2% of the $614 billion of goods imported from Canada and Mexico in 2017, followed by rail, 18.5%; pipeline, 8.4%; vessel, 6.4%; and air, 3.1%. Trucks carried 66.8% of the $525.5 billion of goods exported to Canada and Mexico, followed by rail, 11.5%; vessel, 6.9%; air, 4.8%; and pipeline, 2.6%.

The total value of cross-border freight carried on all modes rose 6.6% from 2016 to $1.2 trillion in current dollars,

Trucking’s Decline Seen At Both Land Borders

From 2016 to 2017, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased 7.1% to $582.4 billion.

Trucks carried 57.7% of the value of the freight, followed by rail, 16.2%; pipeline, 10.6%; vessel, 3.9%; and air, 4.7%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail, and pipeline combined carried 84.5% of the value.

Although trucks carried the largest share, 57.7%, of U.S.-Canada freight by value in 2017, its share of the total decreased by 2.4 percentage points from 2016. The modal shares of rail and air also decreased, both down 0.1% percentage points. Pipeline’s share rose by 2.2 percentage points while vessel rose 0.6 points, both due in part to an increase in the year-over-year price of crude oil in 2017.

Trucks carried 50.1% of the $300 billion of goods imported from Canada in 2017, followed by rail, 20.6%; pipeline, 17.2%; vessel, 5%; and air, 3.8%. Trucks carried 65.7% of the $282.5 billion of goods exported to Canada, followed by rail, 11.5%; air, 5.6%; pipeline, 3.5%; and vessel, 2.8%.

Michigan led all U.S.-Canada Border states serving as a gateway for 38.3% of freight carried between the U.S. and Canada in 2017, handling $222.8 billion, an increase of 5.2%. Minnesota ports of entry had the largest percentage increase among northern border states, growing 20.8% over 2016.

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada in 2017 was vehicles and parts valued at $107.4 billion with $60.7 billion or 56.5% moved by truck and $43.7 billion or 40.7% moved by rail.

The value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows last year compared to 2016 increased 6.1% to $557 billion. Trucks carried 69.1% of the value of the freight, followed by rail, 14.4%; vessel, 9.5%; air, 3%; and pipeline, 0.7%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail, and pipeline combined carried 84.1% of the value.

Trucks carried the largest share, 69.1%, of U.S.-Mexico freight in 2017, despite a 1.9 percentage point decrease from 2016. Also declining were rail, down 0.3 percentage points, and pipeline, down 0.1 points. Helped by an increase in the year-over-year price of crude oil, vessel’s share grew by 1.8 percentage points. Air’s share was unchanged.

Trucks carried 69.9% of the $314 billion of goods imported from Mexico in 2017, followed by rail, 16.5%; vessel, 7.8%; air, 2.4%; and pipeline, 0.1%. Trucks carried 68.0% of the $243 billion of goods exports to Mexico in 2017, followed by vessel, 11.6%; rail, 11.5%; air, 3.8%; and pipeline, 1.4%.

Texas led all U.S.-Mexico Border states serving as a gateway for 70% of freight carried between the U.S. and Mexico in 2017, handling $390.1 billion. Texas ports of entry had the largest percentage increase among southern border states, growing 6.9% over 2016.

The top commodity transported between the U.S. and Mexico in 2017 was vehicles and parts at $104.8 billion, with $48.9 billion or 46.7% moved by truck, and $44.7 billion or 42.7% moved by rail.

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