U.S.-NAFTA Freight Totaled $97.4 Billion in August 2017; Increased 4.6 Percent Y/Y

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $97.4 billion as all five major transportation modes carried more freight by value with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico in August 2017 compared to August 2016, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Figure 2, Table 1).

The 4.6 percent rise from August 2016 is the 10th consecutive month in which the year-over-year value in current dollars of U.S.-NAFTA freight increased from the same month of the previous year (Figure 1).

Freight by Mode

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

The value of commodities moving by pipeline increased 13.2 percent, air by 8.4 percent, vessel by 4.5 percent, truck by 3.6 percent, and rail by 3.2 percent (Figure 2, Table 2). The large percentage increase in the value of goods moving by pipeline is due in part to an increase in the volume of mineral fuel imports.

Trucks carried 64.7 percent 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 $31.9 billion of the $52.0 billion of imports (61.4 percent) and $31.1 billion of the $45.4 billion of exports (68.5 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.1 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 5.8 percent; pipeline, 5.5 percent; and air, 3.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.3 percent of the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows (Table 2). 

U.S.-Canada Freight

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Comparing August 2016 to August 2017, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 4.7 percent to $49.5 billion as the value of freight on four major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of freight carried on pipeline increased by 20.0 percent, air by 7.1 percent, truck by 3.4 percent, and rail by 1.1 percent. Vessel decreased by 5.3 percent due in part to a decrease in the volume of mineral fuel shipments. (Figure 3, Table 3).

Trucks carried 58.9 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 15.9 percent followed by pipeline, 10.3 percent; air, 4.8 percent; and vessel, 3.4 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.1 percent of the value of total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 3).

U.S.-Mexico Freight 

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Comparing August 2016 to August 2017, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows increased by 4.5 percent to $47.9 billion as the value of freight on four major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of commodities moved by air increased by 10.7 percent, vessel by 9.4 percent, rail by 5.8 percent, and truck by 3.7 percent. Pipeline decreased by 43.1 percent due primarily to decreases in the volumes of goods imported (Figure 4, Table 4).

Trucks carried 70.6 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 14.3 percent followed by vessel, 8.2 percent; air, 2.9 percent; and pipeline, 0.6 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.5 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 4).

Commodities

In August 2017, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was vehicles and parts, of which $5.5 billion, or 58.1 percent, moved by truck and $3.7 billion, or 38.9 percent by rail (Figure 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in August 2017 was vehicles and parts, of which $4.5 billion, or 48.7 percent, moved by truck and $3.8 billion, or 41.6 percent, moved by rail (Figure 6).

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

NOTES: Import and export numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.

 

Reporting Notes

BTS press releases and the BTS website define surface transportation modes as truck, rail and pipeline. See North American TransBorder Freight Data on the BTS website for additional data for surface modes since 1995 and all modes since 2004. The category of all modes of transportation cited in the following tables includes freight movements by truck, rail, vessel, pipeline, air, other and unknown modes of transport.

Data in this press release are not seasonally adjusted and are not adjusted for inflation. Additional summary data adjusted for inflation and exchange rates can be found on the BTS website under TransBorder Indexed Freight Flow Data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indexes used in the adjustments for inflation and exchange rates might be revised in each of the three months after original publication. For previous statistical releases and summary tables, see TransBorder Releases. See TransBorder Freight Data for data from previous months, and for additional state, port, and commodity data. BTS has scheduled the release of September TransBorder numbers for Nov. 21. 

Table 1. Value of Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows

(millions of current dollars)

Month 2015 2016 2017 Percent Change 2015-2016 Percent Change 2016-2017
January 89,258 82,430 87,960 -7.7 6.7
February 85,723 84,038 86,474 -2.0 2.9
March 96,070 90,462 100,289 -5.8 10.9
April 93,327 90,380 91,068 -3.2 0.8
May 92,707 89,840 98,246 -3.1 9.4
June 99,030 92,671 99,764 -6.4 7.7
July 92,995 83,725 89,175 -10.0 6.5
August 92,442 93,126 97,439 0.7 4.6
September 93,246 91,126 -2.3
October 96,624 93,165 -3.6
November 88,154 91,089 3.3
December 86,748 87,086 0.4
Year-to-date 741,553 706,672 750,416 -4.7 6.2
Annual 1,106,325 1,069,138 -3.4

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

NOTE: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 2. Value of Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode August 2016 August 2017 Percent Change August

2016-2017

All Modes Imports 49,744 52,014 4.6
Exports 43,383 45,426 4.7
Total 93,126 97,439 4.6
All Surface Modes Imports 43,803 45,754 4.5
Exports 36,043 37,344 3.6
Total 79,846 83,098 4.1
Truck Imports 31,217 31,914 2.2
Exports 29,627 31,096 5.0
Total 60,845 63,010 3.6
Rail Imports 9,002 9,463 5.1
Exports 5,241 5,239 0.0
Total 14,243 14,702 3.2
Pipeline Imports 3,584 4,377 22.1
Exports 1,174 1,009 -14.1
Total 4,758 5,386 13.2
Vessel Imports 2,821 2,908 3.1
Exports 2,547 2,701 6.0
Total 5,368 5,610 4.5
Air Imports 1,566 1,649 5.3
Exports 1,917 2,127 11.0
Total 3,483 3,776 8.4

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.   Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation.  For additional detail, please refer to the “Data Fields” section of TransBorder Freight Data

Table 3. Value of Monthly U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode August 2016 August 2017 Percent Change August 2016-2017
All Modes Imports 24,186 24,967 3.2
Exports 23,100 24,557 6.3
Total 47,286 49,524 4.7
All Surface Modes Imports 21,284 22,135 4.0
Exports 18,939 19,989 5.5
Total 40,224 42,124 4.7
Truck Imports 12,769 12,768 0.0
Exports 15,423 16,393 6.3
Total 28,193 29,160 3.4
Rail Imports 4,945 5,002 1.2
Exports 2,844 2,870 0.9
Total 7,789 7,872 1.1
Pipeline Imports 3,570 4,365 22.3
Exports 672 726 8.2
Total 4,242 5,092 20.0
Vessel Imports 1,099 1,070 -2.6
Exports 682 616 -9.7
Total 1,781 1,686 -5.3
Air Imports 964 991 2.8
Exports 1,256 1,386 10.4
Total 2,220 2,377 7.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation.  For additional detail, please refer to the “Data Fields” section of TransBorder Freight Data

Table 4. Value of Monthly U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode August 2016 August 2017 Percent Change August 2016-2017
All Modes Imports 25,557 27,047 5.8
Exports 20,283 20,869 2.9
Total 45,840 47,916 4.5
All Surface Modes Imports 22,519 23,619 4.9
Exports 17,103 17,355 1.5
Total 39,622 40,974 3.4
Truck Imports 18,448 19,146 3.8
Exports 14,204 14,703 3.5
Total 32,652 33,849 3.7
Rail Imports 4,057 4,461 10.0
Exports 2,397 2,369 -1.1
Total 6,453 6,830 5.8
Pipeline Imports 14 12 -17.1
Exports 503 282 -43.8
Total 517 294 -43.1
Vessel Imports 1,722 1,838 6.8
Exports 1,865 2,085 11.8
Total 3,587 3,924 9.4
Air Imports 601 658 9.3
Exports 662 741 12.0
Total 1,263 1,399 10.7

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation.  For additional detail, please refer to the “Data Fields” section of TransBorder Freight Data