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 Find the latest Coronavirus-related transportation statistics on the BTS COVID-19 landing page.

United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

March 2018 North American Freight Numbers

Monday, June 4, 2018

Date: Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Download Excel Tables

Freight between the U.S. and other North American countries (Canada and Mexico) in March 2018:

  • Most-used mode: Truck moved $66.5 billion of freight, up 4.1 percent compared to March 2017 
  • Second mode: Rail moved $16.1 billion of freight, up 1.9 percent compared to March 2017 

Truck Freight

  • Total: $66.5 billion (62.9 percent)
  • By border:
U.S.-Canada: $31.1 billion (57.6 percent)
U.S.-Mexico: $35.5 billion (68.4 percent)
  • Compared to previous year:
U.S.-Canada up 3.8 percent
U.S.-Mexico down 4.4 percent.
  • Top three states for truck freight moved through their border ports: (75.1 percent of total truck freight):
    • Texas:             $26.3 billion
    • Michigan:        $15.3 billion
    • New York:        $8.3 billion   
  • Busiest three truck border ports (46.4 percent of total truck freight) (Figure 1):
    • Laredo, TX:    $15.4 billion
    • Detroit, MI:     $10.1 billion
    • El Paso, TX:      $5.3 billion
  • Top three truck commodities (50.9 percent of total truck freight) (Figure 2):
    • Computers and parts:              $12.9 billion
    • Motor vehicles and parts:       $10.9 billion
    • Electrical machinery:              $10.1 billion

Figure 1: Top 3 U.S. Ports by Truck

Port of Entry/Exit Mar. 2017 Mar. 2018
El Paso, Texas 5,004 5,310
Detroit, Michigan 9,723 10,126
Laredo, Texas 14,410 15,450
Source:

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

Figure 2: Top 3 Commodities by Truck

Commodities Mar. 2017 Mar. 2018
Electrical Machinery 10,409 10,125
Motor Vehicles and Parts 9,810 10,896
Computers and Parts 11,826 12,851
Source:

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

Rail Freight

  • Total: $16.1 billion (15.2 percent)
  • By border:
U.S.-Canada: $9.2 billion (17.0 percent)
U.S.-Mexico: $6.9 billion (13.4 percent)
  • Compared to previous year:
U.S.-Canada up 11.0 percent
U.S.-Mexico down 8.0 percent.
  • Top three states for rail freight flowing through their border ports (77.0 percent of total rail freight):
    • Texas:             $6.3  billion
    • Michigan:        $4.8 billion
    • New York:      $1.3 billion
  • Busiest three rail border ports (52.0 percent of total rail freight) (Figure 3):
    • Laredo, TX:                $3.7 billion
    • Port Huron, MI:          $2.3 billion
    • Detroit, MI:                 $2.3 billion
  • Top three rail commodities (60.7 percent of total rail freight) (Figure 4):
    • Motor vehicles and parts:       $8.0 billion
    • Plastics:                                   $949 million
    • Computers and parts:              $872 million

 

Figure 3: Top 3 U.S. Ports by Rail

Port of Entry/Exit Mar. 2017 Mar. 2018
Detroit, Michigan 2,372 2,318
Port Huron, Michigan 1,972 2,333
Laredo, Texas 3,516 3,739
Source:

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

Figure 4: Top 3 Commodities by Rail

Commodities Mar. 2017 Mar. 2018
Computers and Parts 910 872
Plastics 853 949
Motor Vehicles and Parts 8,224 7,968
Source:

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

Total and Freight by Other Modes

Total: $105.8 billion of freight by all modes of transportation, up 5.5 percent from March 2017 ($100.3 billion).

U.S.-Canada (both directions)

Truck:             $31.1 billion
Rail:                   $9.2 billion
Pipeline:             $5.4 billion
Air:                     $2.7 billion
Vessel:               $2.0 billion

Almost all (99.4 percent) of pipeline freight between the U.S. and Canada were mineral fuels, primarily oil and gas. Most of these freight flows were on pipelines linking Canada and the American Midwest.

U.S.-Mexico (both directions)

Truck:             $35.5 billion
Rail:                   $6.9 billion
Vessel:               $6.0 billion
Air:                     $1.5 billion
Pipeline:             $0.4 billion

Of freight by vessel, $3.4 billion, or 57.0 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. 

Reporting Notes

Data in this 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 April TransBorder numbers for June 26.