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North American Transborder Freight Data

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October 2018 North American Transborder Freight Numbers

Release Number: 
BTS 60-18
Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Transborder freight between the U.S. and other North American countries (Canada and Mexico) in October 2018:

  • Most-used mode: Truck moved $70.1 billion of freight, up 9.0 percent compared to October 2017
  • Second mode: Rail moved $15.8 billion of freight, up 4.0 percent compared to October 2017

Truck Freight: $70.1 billion (63.3 percent of all transborder freight)

  • By border:
U.S.-Canada: $30.8 billion (56.7 percent of all northern border freight)
U.S.-Mexico: $39.4 billion (69.6 percent of all southern border freight)
  • Compared to previous year:
U.S.-Canada up 7.2 percent
U.S.-Mexico up 10.4 percent
  • Busiest three truck border ports (45.6 percent of total transborder truck freight):
    • Laredo, TX:      $16.7 billion
    • Detroit, MI:         $9.4 billion
    • El Paso, TX:        $5.9 billion
  • Top three truck commodities (51.6 percent of total transborder truck freight):
    • Computers and parts:              $13.7  billion
    • Electrical machinery:              $11.6  billion
    • Motor vehicles and parts:       $11.0  billion
(Dollars in Billions)
ModeValue
Truck 70.1
Rail 15.8
Vessel 8.9
Pipeline 6.4
Source: 

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

Rail Freight: $15.8 billion (14.2 percent of all transborder freight)

  • By border:

U.S.-Canada: $8.7 billion (16.1 percent of all northern border freight)

U.S.-Mexico: $7.0 billion (12.4 percent of all southern border freight)

  • Compared to previous year:

U.S.-Canada up 8.6 percent

U.S.-Mexico down 1.2 percent

  • Busiest three rail border ports (52.8 percent of total transborder rail freight):
    • Laredo, TX:                $3.8 billion
    • Port Huron, MI:          $2.3 billion
    • Detroit, MI:                 $2.2 billion
  • Top three rail commodities (62.8 percent of total transborder rail freight):
    • Motor vehicles and parts:       $7.6 billion
    • Mineral fuels:                          $1.4 billion
    • Plastics:                                   $0.9 billion

Total Transborder Freight: $110.8 billion of transborder freight moved by all modes of transportation, up 10.2 percent from October 2017.

Freight by Mode:

U.S.-Canada (both directions)
(Dollars in Billions)
Truck:             $30.8
Rail:                  $8.7
Pipeline:            $6.0              
Air:                    $2.7
Vessel:              $2.6         

Almost all (99.2 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)
(Dollars in Billions)
Truck:             $39.4
Rail:                  $7.0
Vessel:              $6.3  
Air:                    $1.5
Pipeline:            $0.4                       

Of freight by vessel between the U.S. and Mexico, $3.8 billion, or 59.5 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 November TransBorder numbers for Jan. 29.

Updated: Tuesday, December 18, 2018