North American Transborder Freight Data

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November 2017 North American Freight Numbers

Release Number: 
BTS 07-18
Date: 
Thursday, January 25, 2018
(Last 24 months)
Figure 1. U.S.-NAFTA Freight Value Percent Change from Previous Year
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
11/201710.5
Notes: 

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

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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 November 2017 compared to November 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 10.5 percent rise from November 2016 is the 13th 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

ModePercent Change
Truck8.1
Rail4.4
Pipeline11.0
Vessel46.0
Air11.4
All Modes10.5
Source: 

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

The value of commodities moving by vessel increased 46.0 percent, air by 11.4 percent, pipeline by 11.0 percent, truck by 8.1 percent, and rail by 4.4 percent (Figure 2, Table 2). The large percentage increase in the value of goods moving by vessel is due in part to a 24.0 percent year-over-year crude oil price increase and a 24.6 percent increase in the tonnage of mineral fuels traded.

Trucks carried 63.1 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight and continued to be the most utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $32.8 billion of the $53.8 billion of imports (61.1 percent) and $30.6 billion of the $46.8 billion of exports (65.4 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 14.5 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 7.8 percent; pipeline, 5.4 percent; and air, 3.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.9 percent of the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows (Table 2).

U.S.-Canada Freight

ModePercent Change
Truck8.5
Rail10.0
Pipeline11.8
Vessel59.7
Air12.5
All Modes11.2
Source: 

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

Comparing November 2016 to November 2017, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 11.2 percent to $51.3 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 59.7 percent due in part to an increase in the unit value and an 22.4 percent increase in the tonnage of mineral fuels traded. Air increased by 12.5 percent, pipeline by 11.8 percent, rail by 10.0 percent, and truck by 8.5 percent (Figure 3, Table 3).

Trucks carried 57.5 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 15.9 percent followed by pipeline, 9.9 percent; vessel, 4.9 percent; and air, 4.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.2 percent of the value of total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 3).

U.S.-Mexico Freight

ModePercent Change
Truck7.8
Rail-1.9
Pipeline0.9
Vessel40.4
Air9.6
All Modes9.7
Source: 

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

Comparing November 2016 to November 2017, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows increased by 9.7 percent to $49.3 billion as the value of freight on four major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of commodities moved by vessel increased by 40.4 percent, air by 9.6 percent, truck by 7.8 percent, and pipeline by 0.9 percent. Rail decreased by 1.9 percent (Figure 4, Table 4).

Trucks carried 68.9 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 13.1 percent followed by vessel, 10.9 percent; air, 3.0 percent; and pipeline, 0.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.6 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 4).

Commodities

In November 2017, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was vehicles and parts, of which $5.5 billion, or 57.5 percent, moved by truck and $3.8 billion, or 39.6 percent by rail (Figure 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in November 2017 was electrical machinery, of which $8.6 billion, or 91.4 percent, moved by truck and $475 million, or 5.0 percent, moved by air (Figure 6).

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All ModesVehicles and Parts4.45.29.5
TruckVehicles and Parts2.82.75.5
RailVehicles and Parts1.32.43.8
PipelineMineral Fuels0.74.35.0
VesselMineral Fuels0.91.01.9
AirElectrical Machinery0.30.10.5
Notes: 

Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.

Source: 

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

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All ModesElectrical Machinery3.65.89.4
TruckElectrical Machinery3.25.48.6
RailVehicles and Parts0.53.03.5
PipelineMineral Fuels0.30.00.3
VesselMineral Fuels2.21.23.4
AirElectrical Machinery0.30.20.5
Notes: 

Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.

Source: 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://www.bts.gov/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 December TransBorder numbers for Feb. 27.

(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
November88,15491,089100,6133.310.5
December86,74887,0860.4
Year-to-date1,019,577982,0521,045,969-3.76.5
Annual1,106,3251,069,138-3.4-2.2
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

Mode November 2016 November 2017 Percent Change November 2016-2017
All ModesImports49,78153,7868.0
Exports41,30846,82713.4
Total91,089100,61310.5
All Surface ModesImports43,98246,7566.3
Exports33,56136,6909.3
Total77,54383,4467.6
TruckImports30,68032,8497.1
Exports28,02730,6109.2
Total58,70763,4598.1
RailImports9,4629,5531.0
Exports4,5085,03111.6
Total13,97014,5844.4
PipelineImports3,8414,35413.3
Exports1,0251,0502.4
Total4,8665,40311.0
VesselImports2,7333,59831.7
Exports2,6594,27260.7
Total5,3917,87046.0
AirImports1,5801,6836.5
Exports1,9402,23815.4
Total3,5203,92111.4
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://www.bts.gov/transborder

(millions of current dollars)
Mode November 2016 November 2017 Percent Change November 2016-2017
All ModesImports24,39526,1357.1
Exports21,71625,15615.8
Total46,11151,29111.2
All Surface ModesImports21,63223,1186.9
Exports17,49519,58111.9
Total39,12642,6999.1
TruckImports12,50213,2035.6
Exports14,69716,29610.9
Total27,19929,4998.5
RailImports5,3005,5755.2
Exports2,0932,55722.2
Total7,3938,13110.0
PipelineImports3,8294,34013.3
Exports7057293.4
Total4,5355,06911.8
VesselImports9091,28241.0
Exports6601,22485.4
Total1,5692,50659.7
AirImports9611,0256.6
Exports1,2301,44017.1
Total2,1922,46512.5
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://www.bts.gov/transborder

(millions of current dollars)
Mode November 2016 November 2017 Percent Change November 2016-2017
All ModesImports25,38627,6518.9
Exports19,59221,67110.6
Total44,97849,3229.7
All Surface ModesImports22,35123,6385.8
Exports16,06617,1096.5
Total38,41740,7476.1
TruckImports18,17719,6468.1
Exports13,33114,3147.4
Total31,50833,9607.8
RailImports4,1623,979-4.4
Exports2,4162,4742.4
Total6,5776,453-1.9
PipelineImports121417.1
Exports3203210.3
Total3313340.9
VesselImports1,8232,31627.0
Exports1,9993,04852.5
Total3,8225,36440.4
AirImports6186586.4
Exports71079812.4
Total1,3281,4559.6
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