NAFTA Freight Shipments Up 10.2 Percent in January 2018

Trucks moved freight valued at $60.6 billion between the U.S. and other North American countries (Canada and Mexico) in January 2018, up 10.2 percent compared to January 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

Rail moved freight valued at $13.3 billion, up 0.6 percent during the same period.

Truck Freight

 The $60.6 billion in North American freight hauled by truck was divided between the two borders: $27.1 billion on the U.S.-Canada border and $33.5 billion on the U.S. Mexico border.

Compared to the previous year: U.S.-Canada truck freight rose 6.2 percent while U.S.-Mexico truck freight rose 13.6 percent compared to January 2017.

  • Top states for shipments flowing through their ports: Texas with $24.8 billion of truck freight up 14.3 percent from 2017, Michigan with $13.3 billion up 5.3 percent, and New York with $7.4 billion up 3.2 percent.
  • Busiest border crossings: Laredo, where the top commodity was computers and parts, accounting for $3.1 billion or 21.7 percent of the $14.4 billion total; and Detroit, where the top commodity was motor vehicles and parts, accounting for $2.6 billion or 28.3 percent of the $9.2 billion total.
  • Top commodities: Computers and parts valued at $11.5 billion, electrical machinery at $9.8 billion, and motor vehicles and parts at $9.0 billion.

Rail Freight

 The $13.3 billion in North American rail freight was divided between the two borders: $7.5 billion on the U.S.-Canada border and $5.8 billion on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Compared to the previous year: U.S.-Canada rail freight rose 4.0 percent while U.S.-Mexico rail freight declined 3.4 percent compared to January 2017.

  • Top states for shipments flowing through their ports: Texas with $5.2 billion a 3.3 percent decline from 2017 and Michigan with $3.8 billion in rail freight down 4.7 percent.
  • Busiest border crossings: Laredo, accounting for $3.4 billion or 25.6 percent of the total, Port Huron, accounting for $1.9 billion or 14.2 percent of the total, and Detroit, accounting for $1.8 billion or 13.6 percent of the total. Motor vehicles and parts was the top commodity at all three ports.
  • Top commodities: Motor vehicles and parts valued at $6.0 billion, plastics valued at $915 million, and mineral fuels at $872 million.
  • Freight by Other ModesU.S.-Canada freight flows in both directions in January 2018, were $6.8 billion by pipeline, $2.2 billion by vessel, and $2.1 billion by air. Almost all (99.4 percent) of pipeline freight between the U.S. and Canada were mineral fuels, primarily oil and gas. Most of these flows were on pipelines linking Canada and the American Midwest. In January 2018, $1.9 billion, or 85.9 percent of shipments between the U.S. and Canada by vessel were shipments of mineral fuels. Electrical machinery was the top commodity shipped by air, with $428 million or 20.3 percent of all U.S.-Canada shipments by air consisting of that commodity.U.S.-Mexico freight flows in both directions in January 2018, were $4.6 billion moved by vessel, $1.4 billion moved by air and $805 million moved by pipeline. Of freight flows by vessel, $2.8 billion, or 62.3 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.  In January 2018, $444 million or 32.6 percent of shipments by air between the U.S. and Mexico were of electrical machinery.  Almost all (99.95 percent) of pipeline freight flows between the U.S. and Mexico were of mineral fuels, primarily oil and gas, with almost two-thirds of those shipments (65.9 percent) going through El Paso.

    Reporting Notes

    Data in this press release are not seasonally adjusted and are not adjusted for inflation. 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 February TransBorder numbers for April 24.

     

    Table 1. Value of Monthly U.S.-North AmericanFreight Flows by Mode of Transportation
    (millions of current dollars)
    Mode  January 2017  January 2018  Percent Change January 2017-2018
    All Modes Imports 47,764 52,210 9.3
    Exports 40,196 44,438 10.6
    Total 87,960 96,648 9.9
    All Surface Modes Imports 41,494 45,925 10.7
    Exports 32,355 35,533 9.8
    Total 73,849 81,458 10.3
    Truck Imports 28,222 31,395 11.2
    Exports 26,781 29,206 9.1
    Total 55,003 60,601 10.2
    Rail Imports 8,899 8,628 -3.0
    Exports 4,300 4,656 8.3
    Total 13,199 13,284 0.6
    Pipeline Imports 4,373 5,902 35.0
    Exports 1,274 1,671 31.1
    Total 5,647 7,573 34.1
    Vessel Imports 3,291 3,308 0.5
    Exports 2,891 3,471 20.1
    Total 6,182 6,779 9.7
    Air Imports 1,474 1,421 -3.6
    Exports 1,955 2,046 4.7
    Total 3,429 3,467 1.1
    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://transborder.bts.gov/
    Notes: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.   Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.  The value of freight flows 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 the TransBorder web page: http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataFields.html.

     

    Table 2. Value of Monthly U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation
    (millions of current dollars)
    Mode  January 2017  January 2018  Percent Change January 2017-2018
    All Modes Imports 24,282 26,272 8.2
    Exports 20,663 22,635 9.5
    Total 44,945 48,907 8.8
    All Surface Modes Imports 21,205 23,448 10.6
    Exports 16,842 17,949 6.6
    Total 38,048 41,397 8.8
    Truck Imports 11,782 12,317 4.5
    Exports 13,729 14,784 7.7
    Total 25,511 27,101 6.2
    Rail Imports 5,061 5,244 3.6
    Exports 2,177 2,285 5.0
    Total 7,238 7,529 4.0
    Pipeline Imports 4,362 5,887 35.0
    Exports 937 880 -6.0
    Total 5,299 6,768 27.7
    Vessel Imports 1,421 1,300 -8.5
    Exports 406 922 126.8
    Total 1,828 2,222 21.6
    Air Imports 933 886 -5.0
    Exports 1,216 1,221 0.4
    Total 2,149 2,107 -2.0
    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://transborder.bts.gov/
    Notes: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.  The value of freight flows 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 the TransBorder web page: http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataFields.html.

     

    Table 3. Value of Monthly U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation
    (millions of current dollars)
    Mode  January 2017  January 2018  Percent Change January 2017-2018
    All Modes Imports 23,482 25,938 10.5
    Exports 19,534 21,803 11.6
    Total 43,015 47,741 11.0
    All Surface Modes Imports 20,289 22,477 10.8
    Exports 15,513 17,584 13.3
    Total 35,801 40,061 11.9
    Truck Imports 16,440 19,078 16.1
    Exports 13,053 14,422 10.5
    Total 29,492 33,500 13.6
    Rail Imports 3,838 3,384 -11.8
    Exports 2,123 2,371 11.7
    Total 5,961 5,756 -3.4
    Pipeline Imports 11 15 36.9
    Exports 337 791 134.3
    Total 348 805 131.3
    Vessel Imports 1,870 2,008 7.4
    Exports 2,485 2,549 2.6
    Total 4,355 4,557 4.6
    Air Imports 540 535 -1.1
    Exports 739 826 11.7
    Total 1,280 1,360 6.3
    Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://transborder.bts.gov/
    Notes: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.   Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.  The value of freigth flows 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 the TransBorder web page: http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataFields.html.