2018 North American Transborder Freight Numbers

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics released the numbers for Transborder freight between the U.S. and other North American countries (Canada and Mexico) in 2018, and the “truck freight” segment, already by far the largest, continued to grow. According to BTS:

  • Truck freight moved $772 billion of freight, up 7.1 percent compared to 2017
  • Rail moved $179 billion of freight, up 2.7 percent compared to December 2017


Truck freight accounted for 62.8% of all U.S. transborder freight.

Truck freight by border:

  • U.S.-Canada: $348 billion (56.4% of all northern border freight) — up 3.6% over 2017
  • U.S.-Mexico: $424 billion (69.3% of all southern border freight) — up 10.2% over 2017


The busiest three truck freight borders accounted for 46.2% of all transborder truck freight:

  1. Laredo, TX: $184 billion
  2. Detroit, MI: $109 billion
  3. El Paso, TX: $63 billion


According to BTS, the top three truck freight commodities accounted for 51.1% of total transborder truck freight:

  1. Computers and parts: $151 billion
  2. Electrical machinery: $124 billion
  3. Motor vehicles and parts: $120 billion


Rail accounted for $179 billion, or 14.6% of all transborder freight. Of this, $83 billion was for motor vehicles and parts.

U.S.-Canada freight by mode:

Truck:             $348 billion
Rail:                $100 billion
Pipeline:            $68 billion
Air:                   $30 billion
Vessel:              $30 billion

Almost all (99.4 percent) of pipeline freight between the U.S. and Canada were mineral fuels, primarily oil and gas. Most of these freight flows were on pipelines linking Canada and the American Midwest.

U.S.-Mexico freight by mode:
Truck:             $424 billion
Rail:                  $78 billion
Vessel:              $67 billion
Air:                   $17 billion
Pipeline:             $5 billion

Of freight by vessel between the U.S. and Mexico, $38 billion, or 57.5 percent were mineral fuels, primarily oil and gas shipments between Gulf of Mexico ports in the U.S. and Mexico – with over half of those shipments going through Texas ports.