North American Transborder Freight Data

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May 2018 North American Freight Numbers

Release Number: 
BTS 37-18
Date: Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

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

  • Most-used mode: Truck moved $67.9 billion of freight, up 8.9 percent compared to May 2017
  • Second mode: Rail moved $15.3 billion of freight, up 0.7 percent compared to May 2017

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Truck Freight

  • Total: $67.9 billion (63.3 percent)
  • By border:
U.S.-Canada: $30.9 billion (56.1 percent)
U.S.-Mexico: $37.0 billion (70.9 percent)
  • Compared to previous year:
U.S.-Canada up 4.5 percent
U.S.-Mexico up 12.9 percent
  • Busiest three truck border ports (45.4 percent of total truck freight):
    • Laredo, TX:    $16.0 billion
    • Detroit, MI:       $9.5 billion
    • El Paso, TX:      $5.4 billion
  • Top three truck commodities (50.5 percent of total truck freight):
    • Computers and parts:              $13.3 billion
    • Electrical machinery:              $10.8 billion
    • Motor vehicles and parts:       $10.1 billion

(Dollars in Billions)
ModeValue
Truck 67.9
Rail 15.3
Vessel 8.1
Pipeline 6.4
Air 4.0
Source: 

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

Rail Freight

  • Total: $15.3 billion (14.3 percent)
  • By border:

U.S.-Canada: $8.8 billion (16.0 percent)

U.S.-Mexico: $6.5 billion (12.5 percent)

  • Compared to previous year:

U.S.-Canada up 5.2 percent

U.S.-Mexico down 4.9 percent

  • Busiest three rail border ports (53.7 percent of total rail freight):
    • Laredo, TX:                $3.8 billion
    • Port Huron, MI:          $2.2 billion
    • Detroit, MI:                 $2.2 billion
  • Top three rail commodities (57.2 percent of total rail freight):
    • Motor vehicles and parts:       $6.7 billion
    • Mineral fuels:                          $1.1 billion
    • Plastics:                                   $1.0 billion

Total: $107.3 billion of freight by all modes of transportation, up 9.2 percent from May 2017.

Freight by Mode:

U.S.-Canada (both directions)

in billions

Truck:              $30.9
Rail:                 $  8.8
Pipeline:           $  6.0 
Vessel:             $  3.2
Air:                   $  2.5         

Almost all (99.5 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)

in billions

Truck:              $37.0
Rail:                 $  6.5
Vessel:             $  4.9
Air:                   $  1.4
Pipeline:           $  0.4                  

Of freight by vessel, $2.6 billion, or 53.4 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 Bureau of Transportation Statistics 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 June TransBorder numbers for Aug. 22.

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2018