North American Transborder Freight Data

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October 2017 North American Freight Numbers

Release Number: 
BTS 01-18
(Last 24 months)
Figure 1. U.S.-NAFTA Freight Value Percent Change from Previous Year (Last 24 months)
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
04/20170.8
05/20179.4
06/20177.7
07/20176.5
08/20174.6
09/20173.6
10/20177.9
Source: 

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

Download Excel Tables

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $100.6 billion as all five major transportation modes carried more freight by value with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico in October 2017 compared to October 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 7.9 percent rise from October 2016 is the 12th consecutive month in which the year-over-year value of U.S.-NAFTA freight increased in current dollars from the same month of the previous year (Figure 1).

Freight by Mode

Figure 2. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: October 2016-2017
ModePercent Change
Truck5.7
Rail3.3
Pipeline9.3
Vessel32.6
Air6.1
All Modes7.9
Source: 

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

The value of commodities moving by vessel increased 32.6 percent, pipeline by 9.3 percent, air by 6.1 percent, truck by 5.7 percent, and rail by 3.3 percent (Figure 2, Table 2). The large percentage increase in the value of goods moving by vessel is due in part to an increase in the unit value and an 18.0 percent increase in the tonnage of mineral fuels traded.

Trucks carried 64.0 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight and continued to be the most utilized mode for moving goods to and from both Canada and Mexico. Trucks accounted for $33.4 billion of the $54.5 billion of imports (61.2 percent) and $31.0 billion of the $46.1 billion of exports (67.3 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.1 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 6.6 percent; pipeline, 5.0 percent; and air, 3.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.1 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: October 2016-2017
ModePercent Change
Truck1.4
Rail7.2
Pipeline11.6
Vessel61.9
Air8.9
All Modes6.8
Source: 

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

Comparing October 2016 to October 2017, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 6.8 percent to $49.7 billion as the value of freight on all five major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of freight carried on vessel increased by 61.9 percent due in part to an increase in the unit value and a 29.8 percent increase in the tonnage of mineral fuels traded. Pipeline increased by 11.6 percent, air by 8.9 percent, rail by 7.2 percent, and truck by 1.4 percent (Figure 3, Table 3).

Trucks carried 57.7 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16.2 percent followed by pipeline, 9.6 percent; air, 4.7 percent; and vessel, 4.4 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.4 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: October 2016-2017
ModePercent Change
Truck9.5
Rail-0.9
Pipeline-17.7
Vessel21.8
Air1.9
All Modes9.0
Source: 

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

Comparing October 2016 to October 2017, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows increased by 9.0 percent to $50.8 billion as the value of freight on three major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of freight carried on vessel increased by 21.8 percent due in part to an increase in the unit value and an 11.7 percent increase in the tonnage of mineral fuels traded. The value of commodities moved by truck increased by 9.5 percent, largely due to a 26.0 percent increase in the value of motor vehicles moved by truck. The value of goods moved by air increased by 1.9 percent. Rail decreased by 0.9 percent, and pipeline by 17.7 percent (Figure 4, Table 4).

Trucks carried 70.2 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 14.0 percent followed by vessel, 8.8 percent; air, 2.9 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 October 2017, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was vehicles and parts, of which $4.7 billion, or 54.0 percent, moved by truck and $3.7 billion, or 43.1 percent by rail (Figure 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in October 2017 was vehicles and parts, of which $5.0 billion, or 49.6 percent, moved by truck and $4.0 billion, or 40.0 percent, moved by rail (Figure 6).

(billions of current dollars)
ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All ModesVehicles and Parts4.44.38.6
TruckVehicles and Parts2.52.14.7
RailVehicles and Parts1.62.13.7
PipelineMineral Fuels0.54.24.7
VesselMineral Fuels0.51.01.5
AirElectrical Machinery0.30.10.5
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/TBDR_QA.html

(billions of current dollars)
ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All ModesVehicles and Parts2.08.110.1
TruckElectrical Machinery3.45.68.9
RailVehicles and Parts0.53.54.0
PipelineMineral Fuels0.30.00.3
VesselMineral Fuels1.70.82.5
AirElectrical 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/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_QA.html

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. 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.

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 November TransBorder numbers for Jan. 25.

(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
April93,32790,38091,068-3.20.8
May92,70789,84098,246-3.19.4
June99,03092,67199,764-6.47.7
July92,99583,72589,175-10.06.5
August92,44293,12697,4390.74.6
September93,24691,12694,379-2.33.6
October96,62493,165100,561-3.67.9
November88,15491,089 3.3
December86,74887,086 0.4
Year-to-date931,424890,963945,356-4.36.1
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://www.bts.gov/transborder

(millions of current dollars)
Mode October 2016 October 2017 Percent Change October 2016-2017
All ModesImports50,31454,5098.3
Exports42,85146,0527.5
Total93,165100,5617.9
All Surface ModesImports45,26347,3954.7
Exports34,89937,1646.5
Total80,16184,5595.5
TruckImports31,88433,3514.6
Exports28,97530,9937.0
Total60,85964,3445.7
RailImports9,8579,779-0.8
Exports4,8215,37911.6
Total14,67715,1583.3
PipelineImports3,5224,26521.1
Exports1,103792-28.2
Total4,6245,0579.3
VesselImports2,3263,58354.1
Exports2,7013,08414.2
Total5,0276,66732.6
AirImports1,5011,6157.6
Exports2,0552,1595.0
Total3,5563,7746.1
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://www.bts.gov/transborder

(millions of current dollars)
Mode October 2016 October 2017 Percent Change October 2016-2017
All ModesImports23,90825,7867.9
Exports22,64023,9405.7
Total46,54849,7266.8
All Surface ModesImports21,65022,4313.6
Exports18,40219,0653.6
Total40,05241,4963.6
TruckImports13,06512,979-0.7
Exports15,21415,7023.2
Total28,27828,6811.4
RailImports5,0765,2032.5
Exports2,4332,85117.2
Total7,5098,0547.2
PipelineImports3,5094,24921.1
Exports756512-32.2
Total4,2654,76111.6
VesselImports7301,529109.4
Exports6316746.9
Total1,3612,20361.9
AirImports8949465.8
Exports1,2371,37611.2
Total2,1322,3218.9
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://www.bts.gov/transborder

(millions of current dollars)
Mode October 2016 October 2017 Percent Change October 2016-2017
All ModesImports26,40528,7238.8
Exports20,21122,1129.4
Total46,61750,8359.0
All Surface ModesImports23,61224,9645.7
Exports16,49718,0999.7
Total40,10943,0637.4
TruckImports18,82020,3718.2
Exports13,76215,29111.1
Total32,58135,6639.5
RailImports4,7804,576-4.3
Exports2,3882,5285.9
Total7,1687,104-0.9
PipelineImports121633.6
Exports347279-19.5
Total359296-17.7
VesselImports1,5952,05328.7
Exports2,0702,41016.4
Total3,6664,46321.8
AirImports60766910.2
Exports818783-4.2
Total1,4251,4521.9
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://www.bts.gov/transborder

Updated: Thursday, January 4, 2018