North American Transborder Freight Data

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January 2018 North American Freight Numbers

Release Number: 
BTS 17-18

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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 (Figures 1 and 2).

  • 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.
(Dollars in Millions)
Port of Entry/ExitJan. 2017Jan. 2018
Port Huron, Michigan4,4074,063
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, New York4,5824,521
El Paso, Texas4,3805,086
Detroit, Michigan8,5639,211
Laredo, Texas12,64114,433
Notes: 

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

(Dollars in Millions)
CommoditiesJan. 2017Jan. 2018
Measuring and Testing Instruments2,0312,271
Plastics2,7242,950
Motor Vehicles and Parts8,0899,024
Electrical Machinery9,2369,795
Computers and Parts9,76011,514
Notes: 

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

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 (Figures 3 and 4).

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.
(Dollars in Millions)
Port of Entry/ExitJan. 2017Jan. 2018
International Falls, Minnesota8151,007
Eagle Pass, Texas1,5661,248
Detroit, Michigan2,0411,808
Port Huron, Michigan1,8541,883
Laredo, Texas3,0973,405
Notes: 

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

(Dollars in Millions)
CommoditiesJan. 2017Jan. 2018
Wood 454 450
Computers and Parts 733 709
Mineral Fuels 591 872
Plastics 807 915
Motor Vehicles and Parts 6,545 5,956
Notes: 

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

Freight by Other Modes

U.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.

(millions of current dollars)
Mode January 2017 January 2018 Percent Change January 2017-2018
All ModesImports47,76452,2109.3
Exports40,19644,43810.6
Total87,96096,6489.9
All Surface ModesImports41,49445,92510.7
Exports32,35535,5339.8
Total73,84981,45810.3
TruckImports28,22231,39511.2
Exports26,78129,2069.1
Total55,00360,60110.2
RailImports8,8998,628-3.0
Exports4,3004,6568.3
Total13,19913,2840.6
PipelineImports4,3735,90235.0
Exports1,2741,67131.1
Total5,6477,57334.1
VesselImports3,2913,3080.5
Exports2,8913,47120.1
Total6,1826,7799.7
AirImports1,4741,421-3.6
Exports1,9552,0464.7
Total3,4293,4671.1
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 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_DataF....

(millions of current dollars)
Mode January 2017 January 2018 Percent Change January 2017-2018
All ModesImports24,28226,2728.2
Exports20,66322,6359.5
Total44,94548,9078.8
All Surface ModesImports21,20523,44810.6
Exports16,84217,9496.6
Total38,04841,3978.8
TruckImports11,78212,3174.5
Exports13,72914,7847.7
Total25,51127,1016.2
RailImports5,0615,2443.6
Exports2,1772,2855.0
Total7,2387,5294.0
PipelineImports4,3625,88735.0
Exports937880-6.0
Total5,2996,76827.7
VesselImports1,4211,300-8.5
Exports406922126.8
Total1,8282,22221.6
AirImports933886-5.0
Exports1,2161,2210.4
Total2,1492,107-2.0
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_DataF....

Source: 

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

(millions of current dollars)
Mode January 2017 January 2018 Percent Change January 2017-2018
All ModesImports23,48225,93810.5
Exports19,53421,80311.6
Total43,01547,74111.0
All Surface ModesImports20,28922,47710.8
Exports15,51317,58413.3
Total35,80140,06111.9
TruckImports16,44019,07816.1
Exports13,05314,42210.5
Total29,49233,50013.6
RailImports3,8383,384-11.8
Exports2,1232,37111.7
Total5,9615,756-3.4
PipelineImports111536.9
Exports337791134.3
Total348805131.3
VesselImports1,8702,0087.4
Exports2,4852,5492.6
Total4,3554,5574.6
AirImports540535-1.1
Exports73982611.7
Total1,2801,3606.3
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_DataF....

Source: 

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