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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

May 2017 North American Freight Numbers

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Figure 1. U.S.-NAFTA Freight Value Percent Change from Previous Year (Last 24 months), May 2017

Figure 1. U.S.-NAFTA Freight Value Percent Change from Previous Year (Last 24 months)
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
08/2016 0.7
09/2016 -2.3
10/2016 -3.6
11/2016 3.3
12/2016 0.4
01/2017 6.7
02/2017 2.9
03/2017 10.9
04/2017 0.8
05/2017 9.4
Source:

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

Download Excel Tables

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $98.2 billion as all five major transportation modes carried more freight by value with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico in May 2017 compared to May 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 9.4 percent rise from May 2016 is the seventh consecutive month in which the year-over-year value in current dollars of U.S.-NAFTA freight increased from the same month of the previous year (Figure 1).

Freight by Mode

The value of commodities moving by pipeline increased 60.3 percent, vessel by 28.4 percent, air by 8.7 percent, rail by 7.0 percent, and truck by 5.0 percent (Figure 2, Table 2). In contrast with recent months, there was only a modest year-over-year increase in the price of mineral fuels (3.8 percent). In May, the increase in the value of freight by pipeline and vessel more closely reflected a greater volume of mineral fuels moved rather than an increase in the price of those commodities.

Trucks carried 63.4 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 $32.2 billion of the $53.5 billion of imports (60.2 percent) and $30.1 billion of the $44.7 billion of exports (67.3 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.5 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 6.4 percent; pipeline, 5.7 percent; and air, 3.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.7 percent of the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows (Table 2).

U.S.-Canada Freight

From May 2016 to May 2017, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 11.4 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 66.0 percent, vessel by 26.0 percent, rail by 9.8 percent, air by 9.7 percent, and truck by 5.4 percent. The percent change in commodities moved by pipeline and vessel reflects an increase in the volume of mineral fuels moved year-over-year and only a modest (3.8 percent) increase in the price of those commodities (Figure 3, Table 3).

Trucks carried 57.8 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16.4 percent followed by pipeline, 10.5 percent; air, 4.5 percent; and vessel, 3.8 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

From May 2016 to May 2017, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows increased by 7.2 percent to $47.0 billion as the value of freight on four major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of commodities moved by vessel increased by 29.5 percent, air by 7.0 percent, truck by 4.8 percent, and rail by 3.8 percent. The percent change in commodities moved by vessel reflects an increase in the volume of mineral fuels moved year-over-year. The value of commodities moved by pipeline decreased by 4.1 percent due to a decrease in volume of mineral fuels moved (Figure 4, Table 4).

Trucks carried 69.6 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 14.5 percent followed by vessel, 9.2 percent; air, 2.8 percent; and pipeline, 0.6 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.7 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 4).

Commodities

In May 2017, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was vehicles and parts, of which $5.5 billion, or 55.8 percent, moved by truck and $4.1 billion, or 41.2 percent, moved by rail (Figure 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in May 2017 was also vehicles and parts, of which $4.1 billion or 46.6 percent moved by truck and $3.7 billion or 42.3 percent moved by rail (Figure 6).

 

Figure 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, May 2017

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Vehicles and Parts 4.8 5.1 9.9
Truck Vehicles and Parts 2.9 2.7 5.5
Rail Vehicles and Parts 1.7 2.4 4.1
Pipeline Mineral Fuels 0.9 4.4 5.3
Vessel Mineral Fuels 0.6 1.0 1.5
Air Computers and Parts 0.2 0.2 0.4
Notes:

Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.

Source:

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

Figure 6. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, May 2017

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Vehicles and Parts 1.7 7.0 8.8
Truck Electrical Machinery 3.1 4.8 7.9
Rail Vehicles and Parts 0.4 3.3 3.7
Pipeline Mineral Fuels 0.3 0.0 0.3
Vessel Mineral Fuels 1.2 1.1 2.3
Air Electrical Machinery 0.2 0.2 0.4
Notes:

Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.

Source:

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

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 June TransBorder numbers for Aug. 24.

Table 1. Value of Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows, May 2017

Month 2015 2016 2017 Percent Change 2015-2016 Percent Change 2016-2017
January 89,258 82,430 87,960 -7.7 6.7
February 85,723 84,038 86,474 -2.0 2.9
March 96,070 90,462 100,289 -5.8 10.9
April 93,327 90,380 91,068 -3.2 0.8
May 92,707 89,840 98,246 -3.1 9.4
June 99,030 92,671 -6.4
July 92,995 83,725 -10.0
August 92,442 93,126 0.7
September 93,246 91,126 -2.3
October 96,624 93,165 -3.6
November 88,154 91,089 3.3
December 86,748 87,086 0.4
Year-to-date 457,086 437,149 464,037 -4.4 6.2
Annual 1,106,325 1,069,138 -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/programs/international/transborder/

Table 2. Value of Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation, May 2017

Mode May 2016 May 2017 Percent Change May 2016-2017
All Modes Imports 47,875 53,499 11.7
Exports 41,965 44,747 6.6
Total 89,840 98,246 9.4
All Surface Modes Imports 42,583 46,476 9.1
Exports 34,491 36,710 6.4
Total 77,074 83,185 7.9
Truck Imports 31,245 32,206 3.1
Exports 28,091 30,121 7.2
Total 59,336 62,327 5.0
Rail Imports 8,792 9,800 11.5
Exports 5,426 5,416 -0.2
Total 14,218 15,216 7.0
Pipeline Imports 2,546 4,469 75.6
Exports 975 1,172 20.3
Total 3,520 5,642 60.3
Vessel Imports 2,517 3,632 44.3
Exports 2,363 2,636 11.5
Total 4,881 6,268 28.4
Air Imports 1,409 1,592 13.0
Exports 1,920 2,026 5.5
Total 3,329 3,619 8.7
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_DataFields.html.

Source:

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

Table 3. Value of Monthly U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation, May 2017

Mode May 2016 May 2017 Percent Change May 2016-2017
All Modes Imports 23,032 26,331 14.3
Exports 22,925 24,870 8.5
Total 45,957 51,201 11.4
All Surface Modes Imports 20,279 23,233 14.6
Exports 18,674 20,109 7.7
Total 38,953 43,342 11.3
Truck Imports 13,009 13,484 3.7
Exports 15,069 16,101 6.8
Total 28,078 29,584 5.4
Rail Imports 4,739 5,294 11.7
Exports 2,903 3,098 6.7
Total 7,642 8,392 9.8
Pipeline Imports 2,531 4,456 76.0
Exports 702 910 29.7
Total 3,233 5,366 66.0
Vessel Imports 1,054 1,236 17.3
Exports 489 709 44.9
Total 1,543 1,945 26.0
Air Imports 886 976 10.1
Exports 1,213 1,327 9.4
Total 2,099 2,302 9.7
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_DataFields.html.

Source:

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

Table 4. Value of Monthly U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation, May 2017

Mode May 2016 May 2017 Percent Change May 2016-2017
All Modes Imports 24,842 27,168 9.4
Exports 19,041 19,877 4.4
Total 43,883 47,045 7.2
All Surface Modes Imports 22,304 23,242 4.2
Exports 15,817 16,601 5.0
Total 38,121 39,843 4.5
Truck Imports 18,236 18,722 2.7
Exports 13,022 14,021 7.7
Total 31,258 32,743 4.8
Rail Imports 4,053 4,507 11.2
Exports 2,522 2,318 -8.1
Total 6,576 6,824 3.8
Pipeline Imports 14 13 -6.4
Exports 273 262 -3.9
Total 287 276 -4.1
Vessel Imports 1,464 2,397 63.7
Exports 1,874 1,927 2.8
Total 3,338 4,324 29.5
Air Imports 523 617 18.0
Exports 707 700 -1.1
Total 1,230 1,316 7.0
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_DataFields.html.

Source:

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