North American Transborder Freight Data

You are here

April 2017 North American Freight Numbers

Release Number: 
BTS 32-17
Date: 
Thursday, June 22, 2017
(Last 24 months)
View Table Data
Figure 1. U.S.-NAFTA Freight Value Percent Change from Previous Year (Last 24 months)
04/2015-6.8
05/2015-10.8
06/2015-3.8
07/2015-8.0
08/2015-8.1
09/2015-8.8
10/2015-10.7
11/2015-8.4
12/2015-9.5
01/2016-7.7
02/2016-2.0
03/2016-5.8
04/2016-3.2
05/2016-3.1
06/2016-6.4
07/2016-10.0
08/20160.7
09/2016-2.3
10/2016-3.6
11/20163.3
12/20160.4
01/20176.7
02/20172.9
03/201710.9
04/20170.8
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://transborder.bts.gov/

Download Excel Tables

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $91.1 billion in current dollars as three major transportation modes carried more freight by value with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico in April 2017 compared to April 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 0.8 percent rise from April 2016 is the sixth consecutive month in which the year-over-year value of U.S.-NAFTA freight increased from the same month of the previous year (Figure 1). 

Freight by Mode
View Table Data
ModePercent Change
Truck-5.5
Rail5.8
Pipeline63.5
Vessel27.8
Air-2.1
All Modes0.8
Source: 

 Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://transborder.bts.gov/

The value of commodities moving by pipeline increased 63.5 percent, vessel by 27.8 percent, and rail by 5.8 percent. Freight moved by air decreased by 2.1 percent, and truck decreased by 5.5 percent (Figure 2, Table 2). The large percentage increase in the value of goods moving by pipeline and vessel is due in part to a 25 percent increase in the year-over-year price of crude oil between April 2016 and April 2017.

Trucks carried 62.6 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight and continued to be the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $29.4 billion of the $49.5 billion of imports (59.5 percent) and $27.6 billion of the $41.6 billion of exports (66.3 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 16.4 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 6.3 percent; pipeline, 5.9 percent; and air, 3.6 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.9 percent of the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows (Table 2).

U.S.-Canada Freight
View Table Data
ModePercent Change
Truck-2.8
Rail6.4
Pipeline67.1
Vessel13.8
Air-7.2
All Modes2.5
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://transborder.bts.gov/

From April 2016 to April 2017, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 2.5 percent to $47.0 billion as the value of freight on three major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of freight carried on pipeline increased by 67.1 percent, vessel by 13.8 percent, and rail by 6.4 percent. Truck decreased by 2.8 percent, and air decreased by 7.2 percent. The increase in the value of commodities moved by pipeline and vessel reflects the increased value of mineral fuels year over year (Figure 3, Table 3).

Trucks carried 57.6 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 17.7 percent followed by pipeline, 10.9 percent; air, 4.3 percent; and vessel, 3.5 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 86.2 percent of the value of total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 3).

U.S.-Mexico Freight
View Table Data
ModePercent Change
Truck-7.8
Rail5.1
Pipeline19.7
Vessel34.5
Air7.1
All Modes-1.0
Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://transborder.bts.gov/

From April 2016 to April 2017, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows decreased by 1.0 percent to $44.0 billion even as the value of freight on four major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of commodities moved by vessel increased by 34.5 percent, pipeline by 19.7 percent, air by 7.1 percent, and rail by 5.1 percent. Truck, which carries the largest share of U.S.-Mexico freight, decreased by 7.8 percent. The decrease in U.S.-Mexico freight by truck was primarily due to a 19.3 percent drop in the value of computers and parts. The increase in the value of commodities moved by vessel reflects the increased value of mineral fuels year over year (Figure 4, Table 4).

Trucks carried 67.9 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 15.0 percent followed by vessel, 9.3 percent; air, 3.0 percent; and pipeline, 0.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.6 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 4).

Commodities

In April 2017, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was vehicles and parts, of which $4.8 billion, or 53.7 percent, moved by truck and $3.9 billion, or 43.8 percent, moved by rail (Figure 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in April 2017 was also vehicles and parts, of which $3.7 billion or 44.4 percent moved by truck and $3.7 billion or 44.0 percent moved by rail  (Figure 6).

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 May TransBorder numbers for July 27.

(millions of current dollars)
View Table Data
Month201520162017 Percent Change 2015-2016 Percent Change 2016-2017
January89,25882,43087,960-7.76.7
February85,72384,03886,474-2.02.9
March96,07090,462100,289-5.810.9
April93,32790,38091,068-3.20.8
May92,70789,840 -3.1
June99,03092,671 -6.4
July92,99583,725 -10.0
August92,44293,126 0.7
September93,24691,126 -2.3
October96,62493,165 -3.6
November88,15491,089 3.3
December86,74887,086 0.4
Year-to-date364,379347,309365,791-4.75.3
Annual1,106,3251,069,138 -3.4
Notes: 

Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.  Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://transborder.bts.gov/

(millions of current dollars)
View Table Data
Mode April 2016 April 2017 Percent Change April 2016-2017
All ModesImports47,61149,4913.9
Exports42,76941,576-2.8
Total90,38091,0680.8
All Surface ModesImports42,46643,3672.1
Exports35,29533,988-3.7
Total77,76177,355-0.5
TruckImports31,35729,439-6.1
Exports28,99127,579-4.9
Total60,34857,018-5.5
RailImports8,6379,76313.0
Exports5,4625,157-5.6
Total14,09914,9205.8
PipelineImports2,4714,16568.5
Exports8421,25248.6
Total3,3135,41663.5
VesselImports2,3413,20937.1
Exports2,1472,52717.7
Total4,4885,73627.8
AirImports1,4641,395-4.7
Exports1,9291,927-0.1
Total3,3933,322-2.1
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 the TransBorder web page: http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataF....

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://transborder.bts.gov/

(millions of current dollars)
View Table Data
Mode April 2016 April 2017 Percent Change April 2016-2017
All ModesImports22,51324,3348.1
Exports23,38422,713-2.9
Total45,89747,0462.5
All Surface ModesImports19,86621,6849.1
Exports18,90318,848-0.3
Total38,77040,5324.5
TruckImports12,42612,058-3.0
Exports15,46915,048-2.7
Total27,89527,107-2.8
RailImports4,9895,4729.7
Exports2,8272,8430.5
Total7,8178,3156.4
PipelineImports2,4514,15469.5
Exports60795757.7
Total3,0585,11167.1
VesselImports9941,21222.0
Exports447427-4.5
Total1,4411,63913.8
AirImports890806-9.4
Exports1,2871,213-5.7
Total2,1772,019-7.2
Notes: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://transborder.bts.gov/

Source: 

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 the TransBorder web page: http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataF....

(billions of current dollars)
View Table Data
ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All Modes Vehicles and Parts4.24.78.9
Truck Vehicles and Parts2.52.34.8
Rail Vehicles and Parts1.52.43.9
Pipeline Mineral Fuels0.94.15.1
Vessel Mineral Fuels0.30.91.2
Air Electrical Machinery0.20.20.4
Notes: 

Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.

Source: 

 Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://transborder.bts.gov/

(millions of current dollars)
View Table Data
Mode April 2016 April 2017 Percent Change April 2016-2017
All ModesImports25,09825,1580.2
Exports19,38518,864-2.7
Total44,48344,021-1.0
All Surface ModesImports22,59921,683-4.1
Exports16,39215,139-7.6
Total38,99236,822-5.6
TruckImports18,93117,381-8.2
Exports13,52312,531-7.3
Total32,45429,911-7.8
RailImports3,6484,29117.6
Exports2,6342,314-12.2
Total6,2836,6055.1
PipelineImports2011-44.4
Exports23529425.2
Total25530619.7
VesselImports1,3471,99648.2
Exports1,7002,10123.6
Total3,0474,09734.5
AirImports5745892.6
Exports64371411.1
Total1,2171,3037.1
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 the TransBorder web page: http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataF....

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://transborder.bts.gov/

(billions of current dollars)
View Table Data
ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All Modes Vehicles and Parts1.97.89.6
Truck Electrical Machinery3.35.08.3
Rail Vehicles and Parts0.53.94.4
Pipeline Mineral Fuels0.30.00.3
Vessel Mineral Fuels1.10.81.9
Air Electrical Machinery0.30.20.5
Notes: 

Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://transborder.bts.gov/