North American Transborder Freight Data

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March 2017 North American Freight Numbers

Release Number: 
BTS 27-17
Date: 
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
(Last 24 months)
Figure 1. U.S.-NAFTA Freight Value Percent Change from Previous Year (Last 24 months)
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
02/20172.9
03/201710.9
Source: 

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

Download Excel Tables

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $100.3 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 March 2017 compared to March 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). March was the first time since October 2014 that U.S.-NAFTA freight has exceeded $100 billion.

The 10.9 percent rise from March 2016 is the fifth 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).  It is also the first double digit year-over-year percent increase in 33 months.

Freight by Mode
Figure 2. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: March 2016-2017
ModePercent Change
Truck5.0
Rail12.6
Pipeline81.3
Vessel38.2
Air13.5
All Modes10.9
Source: 

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

The value of commodities moving by pipeline increased 81.3 percent, vessel by 38.2 percent, air by 13.5 percent, rail by 12.6 percent, and truck by 5.0 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 31 percent increase in the year-over-year price of crude oil between March 2016 and March 2017.

Trucks carried 63.7 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 $32.6 billion of the $54.3 billion of imports (60.0 percent) and $31.3 billion of the $45.9 billion of exports (68.1 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.8 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by pipeline, 5.9 percent; vessel, 5.6 percent; and air, 4.1 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.4 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: March 2016-2017
ModePercent Change
Truck3.9
Rail5.1
Pipeline87.3
Vessel42.9
Air8.4
All Modes10.4
Source: 

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

From March 2016 to March 2017, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 10.4 percent to $51.2 billion as the value of freight on all five major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of freight carried on pipeline increased by 87.3 percent, vessel by 42.9 percent, air by 8.4 percent, rail by 5.1 percent, and truck by 3.9 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 58.5 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16.2 percent followed by pipeline, 11.0 percent; air, 4.8 percent; and vessel, 2.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.6 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: March 2016-2017
ModePercent Change
Truck6.0
Rail22.0
Pipeline8.9
Vessel36.5
Air22.2
All Modes11.3
Source: 

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

From March 2016 to March 2017, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows increased by 11.3 percent to $49.1 billion as the value of freight on all five major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of commodities moved by vessel increased by 36.5 percent, air by 22.2 percent, rail by 22.0 percent, pipeline by 8.9 percent, and truck by 6.0 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 69.2 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 15.4 percent followed by vessel, 8.3 percent; air, 3.3 percent; and pipeline, 0.6 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.1 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 4).

Commodities

In March 2017, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was vehicles and parts, of which $5.6 billion, or 58.0 percent, moved by truck and $3.8 billion, or 39.5 percent, moved by rail (Figure 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in March 2017 was also vehicles and parts, of which $4.4 billion or 45.7 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 April TransBorder numbers for June 22.

(millions of current dollars)
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
April93,32790,380 -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-date271,052256,929274,723-5.26.9
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 March 2016 March 2017 Percent Change March 2016-2017
All ModesImports47,99454,34713.2
Exports42,46845,9428.2
Total90,462100,28910.9
All Surface ModesImports42,91147,85311.5
Exports35,22637,7647.2
Total78,13785,6179.6
TruckImports31,36432,6094.0
Exports29,47231,2986.2
Total60,83663,9085.0
RailImports9,09510,45715.0
Exports4,9565,3598.1
Total14,05115,81712.6
PipelineImports2,4524,78795.2
Exports7981,10638.5
Total3,2505,89281.3
VesselImports1,9723,16660.6
Exports2,0722,42216.9
Total4,0435,58838.2
AirImports1,5111,6549.5
Exports2,1152,46016.3
Total3,6274,11513.5
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 March 2016 March 2017 Percent Change March 2016-2017
All ModesImports23,25026,29313.1
Exports23,12924,9207.7
Total46,37951,21310.4
All Surface ModesImports20,59723,38813.5
Exports19,07820,4497.2
Total39,67543,83710.5
TruckImports12,94313,1661.7
Exports15,85416,7675.8
Total28,79729,9343.9
RailImports5,2205,4514.4
Exports2,6562,8306.5
Total7,8768,2815.1
PipelineImports2,4354,77095.9
Exports56785250.2
Total3,0025,62287.3
VesselImports7741,10542.8
Exports27339043.2
Total1,0471,49642.9
AirImports9091,00210.3
Exports1,3821,4817.1
Total2,2912,4838.4
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 Parts4.75.09.7
Truck Vehicles and Parts2.92.75.6
Rail Vehicles and Parts1.52.33.8
Pipeline Mineral Fuels0.84.85.6
Vessel Mineral Fuels0.40.91.2
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/

(millions of current dollars)
Mode March 2016 March 2017 Percent Change March 2016-2017
All ModesImports24,74428,05413.4
Exports19,33921,0228.7
Total44,08349,07611.3
All Surface ModesImports22,31424,4669.6
Exports16,14817,3157.2
Total38,46241,7808.6
TruckImports18,42219,4435.5
Exports13,61814,5316.7
Total32,03933,9746.0
RailImports3,8755,00629.2
Exports2,3002,53010.0
Total6,1757,53622.0
PipelineImports1716-4.3
Exports2312549.9
Total2482708.9
VesselImports1,1982,06072.1
Exports1,7992,03112.9
Total2,9974,09236.5
AirImports6036528.2
Exports73398033.7
Total1,3361,63222.2
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 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/