North American Transborder Freight Data

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January 2017 North American Freight Numbers

Release Number: 
BTS 16-17
Date: 
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Figure 1. U.S.-NAFTA Freight Value Percent Change from Previous Year (Last 24 months)
01/2015-1.2
02/2015-4.3
03/2015-5.3
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
Source: 

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

Download Excel Tables

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $88.0 billion in current dollars as all five major transportation modes carried more freight by value with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico in January 2017 compared to January 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 6.7 percent rise from January 2016 was the largest year-over-year increase since the September 2014 increase over September 2013. It was also the third straight 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

Figure 2. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: January 2016-2017
ModePercent Change
Truck0.4
Rail5.5
Pipeline42.7
Vessel41.8
Air13.7
All Modes6.7
Source: 

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

The value of commodities moving by pipeline increased 42.7 percent, vessel by 41.8 percent, air by 13.7 percent, rail by 5.5 percent, and truck by 0.4 percent (Figure 2, Table 2). The large percentage increase in the value of goods moving by pipeline and vessel was largely due to a 66 percent increase in the year-over-year price of crude oil between January 2016 and January 2017.

Trucks carried 62.5 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 $28.2 billion of the $47.8 billion of imports (59.1 percent) and $26.8 billion of the $40.2 billion of exports (66.6 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.0 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 7.0 percent; pipeline, 6.4 percent; and air, 3.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.0 percent of the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows (Table 2).

U.S.-Canada Freight

Figure 3. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode: January 2016-2017
ModePercent Change
Truck0.5
Rail8.5
Pipeline44.0
Vessel13.0
Air17.0
All Modes7.1
Source: 

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

From January 2016 to January 2017, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 7.1 percent to $45.0 billion as the value of freight on five major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of freight carried on pipeline increased by 44.0 percent, air by 17.0 percent, vessel by 13.0 percent, rail by 8.5 percent, and truck by 0.5 percent. The increase in the value of commodities moved in pipeline reflects the increased value of mineral fuels year over year (Figure 3, Table 3).

Trucks carried 56.8 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16.1 percent followed by pipeline, 11.8 percent; air, 4.8 percent; and vessel, 4.1 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.7 percent of the value of total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 3).

U.S.-Mexico Freight

Figure 4. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode: January 2016-2017
ModePercent Change
Truck0.3
Rail2.1
Pipeline26.4
Vessel58.9
Air8.6
All Modes6.3
Source: 

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

From January 2016 to January 2017, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows increased by 6.3 percent to $43.0 billion as the value of freight on five major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of commodities moved by vessel increased by 58.9 percent, pipeline by 26.4 percent, air by 8.6 percent, rail by 2.1 percent, and truck by 0.3 percent. 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 68.6 percent of the value of the freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 13.9 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico followed by vessel, 10.1 percent; air, 3.0 percent; and pipeline, 0.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.2 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 4).

Commodities

In January 2017, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by all modes was vehicles and parts, of which $4.6 billion, or 57.3 percent, moved by truck and $3.2 billion, or 40.1 percent, moved by rail (Figure 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico by all modes in January 2017 was electrical machinery, of which $7.4 billion, or 91.4 percent, moved by truck (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 February TransBorder numbers for April 27.

(millions of current dollars)
Month201520162017 Percent Change 2015-2016 Percent Change 2016-2017
January89,25882,43087,960-7.76.7
February85,72384,038 -2.0
March96,07090,462 -5.8
April93,32790,380 -3.2
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-date89,25882,43087,960-7.76.7
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)
Mode January 2016 January 2017 Percent Change January 2016-2017
All ModesImports44,56547,7647.2
Exports37,86540,1966.2
Total82,43087,9606.7
All Surface ModesImports39,84741,4944.1
Exports31,39332,3553.1
Total71,24073,8493.7
TruckImports28,38728,222-0.6
Exports26,39026,7811.5
Total54,77755,0030.4
RailImports8,3438,8996.7
Exports4,1634,3003.3
Total12,50613,1995.5
PipelineImports3,1164,37340.3
Exports8401,27451.7
Total3,9575,64742.7
VesselImports2,2393,29147.0
Exports2,1192,89136.4
Total4,3596,18241.8
AirImports1,2781,47415.3
Exports1,7361,95512.6
Total3,0143,42913.7
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)
Mode January 2016 January 2017 Percent Change January 2016-2017
All ModesImports22,16424,2829.6
Exports19,79920,6634.4
Total41,96344,9457.1
All Surface ModesImports19,58721,2058.3
Exports16,15016,8424.3
Total35,73738,0486.5
TruckImports11,70911,7820.6
Exports13,67713,7290.4
Total25,38725,5110.5
RailImports4,7825,0615.8
Exports1,8872,17715.4
Total6,6697,2388.5
PipelineImports3,0964,36240.9
Exports58593760.0
Total3,6815,29944.0
VesselImports1,0311,42137.9
Exports587406-30.7
Total1,6171,82813.0
AirImports79793317.1
Exports1,0391,21617.0
Total1,8362,14917.0
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)
ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All Modes Vehicles and Parts3.54.58.0
Truck Vehicles and Parts2.32.44.6
Rail Vehicles and Parts1.02.23.2
Pipeline Mineral Fuels0.94.35.3
Vessel Mineral Fuels0.31.21.5
Air Electrical Machinery0.30.10.4
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)
Mode January 2016 January 2017 Percent Change January 2016-2017
All ModesImports22,40123,4824.8
Exports18,06619,5348.1
Total40,46743,0156.3
All Surface ModesImports20,26020,2890.1
Exports15,24315,5131.8
Total35,50335,8010.8
TruckImports16,67816,440-1.4
Exports12,71213,0532.7
Total29,39029,4920.3
RailImports3,5613,8387.8
Exports2,2762,123-6.7
Total5,8375,9612.1
PipelineImports2111-48.7
Exports25533732.5
Total27534826.4
VesselImports1,2081,87054.8
Exports1,5332,48562.1
Total2,7414,35558.9
AirImports48154012.4
Exports6977396.0
Total1,1781,2808.6
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)
ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All Modes Electrical Machinery3.44.78.1
Truck Electrical Machinery3.14.37.4
Rail Vehicles and Parts0.52.83.3
Pipeline Mineral Fuels0.30.00.3
Vessel Mineral Fuels1.71.02.7
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/