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October 2016 North American Freight Numbers

Press Release Number: 
BTS 01-17
Date: 
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Three transportation modes – air, vessel and truck – carried less U.S. freight by value with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico in October 2016 compared to October 2015 as total freight on all modes decreased 3.6 percent to $93.2 billion in current dollars, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Figure 1, Table 1).

The total value of cross-border freight has declined from the same month of the previous year in 21 of the past 22 months beginning in January 2015 with only an increase of 0.7 percent in August 2016 (Figure 1, Table 1).

Freight by Mode

Figure 2. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: October 2015-2016

Table Version | Excel

Figure 2.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: October 2015-2016

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

The value of commodities moving by truck decreased 6.1 percent; vessel by 7.0 percent and air by 12.7 percent while the value of freight carried on pipeline and rail increased 21.8 percent and 6.2 percent respectively (Figure 2, Table 2).

Trucks carried 65.3 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 $31.9 billion of the $50.3 billion of imports (63.4 percent) and $29.0 billion of the $42.9 billion of exports (67.6 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.8 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 5.4 percent; pipeline, 5.0 percent; and air, 3.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 86.0 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 2015-2016

Table Version | Excel

Figure 3.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode: October 2015-2016

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

From October 2015 to October 2016, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows fell 2.5 percent to $46.5 billion due to decreases in the value of goods moved by vessel (down 31.1 percent), air (down 8.8 percent) and truck (down 3.1 percent). The value of freight carried on pipeline and rail increased 21.7 percent and 2.5 percent respectively (Figure 3, Table 3). During this 12-month period, much of the mineral fuel freight between Texas and Canada shifted from vessel to pipeline as the value of mineral fuel shipments carried by vessel between Texas and Canada decreased while the value of pipeline shipments rose. Texas-Canada mineral fuel trade made up about 13.0 percent of all U.S.-Canada mineral fuel shipments in October 2016.

Trucks carried 60.8 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16.1 percent followed by pipeline, 9.2 percent; air, 4.6 percent; and vessel, 2.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 86.0 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 2015-2016

Table Version | Excel

Figure 4.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode: October 2015-2016

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

From October 2015 to October 2016, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows fell 4.7 percent to $46.6 billion due to decreases in the value of goods moved by air (down 18.0 percent) and truck (down 8.5 percent). The value of freight carried on three modes increased: pipeline, by 23.6 percent; rail by 10.4 percent; and vessel by 6.9 percent (Figure 3, Table 3).

Trucks carried 69.9 percent of the value of the freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 15.4 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico followed by vessel, 7.9 percent; air, 3.1 percent; and pipeline, 0.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 86.0 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 4).

Commodities
In October 2016, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by all modes was vehicles and parts, of which $5.2 billion, or 56.9 percent, moved by truck and $3.8 billion, or 40.8 percent, moved by rail (Figure 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico by all modes in October 2016 was electrical machinery, of which $8.7 billion, or 92.1 percent, moved by truck (Figure 6).

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 press releases and summary tables, see TransBorder Press 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. 26.

 

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

(millions of current dollars)

Month 2014 2015 2016 Percent Change 2014-2015 Percent Change 2015-2016
January 90,326 89,258 82,430 -1.2 -7.7
February 89,557 85,723 84,038 -4.3 -2.0
March 101,478 96,070 90,462 -5.3 -5.8
April 100,141 93,327 90,380 -6.8 -3.2
May 103,942 92,707 89,840 -10.8 -3.1
June 102,978 99,030 92,671 -3.8 -6.4
July 101,075 92,995 83,725 -8.0 -10.0
August 100,624 92,442 93,126 -8.1 0.7
September 102,245 93,246 91,126 -8.8 -2.3
October 108,243 96,624 93,165 -10.7 -3.6
November 96,252 88,154   -8.4  
December 95,811 86,748   -9.5  
Year-to-date 1,000,609 931,424 890,963 -6.9 -4.3
Annual 1,192,671 1,106,325   -7.2  

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov

Note: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   October 2015 October 2016 Percent Change October 2015-2016
All Modes Imports 51,361 50,314 -2.0
Exports 45,263 42,851 -5.3
Total 96,624 93,165 -3.6
All Surface Modes Imports 45,840 45,263 -1.3
Exports 36,592 34,899 -4.6
Total 82,432 80,161 -2.8
Truck Imports 33,597 31,884 -5.1
Exports 31,217 28,975 -7.2
Total 64,814 60,859 -6.1
Rail Imports 9,167 9,857 7.5
Exports 4,656 4,821 3.5
Total 13,822 14,677 6.2
Pipeline Imports 3,077 3,522 14.5
Exports 719 1,103 53.4
Total 3,796 4,624 21.8
Vessel Imports 2,511 2,326 -7.4
Exports 2,894 2,701 -6.6
Total 5,404 5,027 -7.0
Air Imports 1,584 1,501 -5.2
Exports 2,490 2,055 -17.5
Total 4,074 3,556 -12.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov

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....

 

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   October 2015 October 2016 Percent Change October 2015-2016
All Modes Imports 23,735 23,908 0.7
Exports 23,987 22,640 -5.6
Total 47,722 46,548 -2.5
All Surface Modes Imports 21,135 21,650 2.4
Exports 18,895 18,402 -2.6
Total 40,030 40,052 0.1
Truck Imports 12,923 13,065 1.1
Exports 16,273 15,214 -6.5
Total 29,196 28,278 -3.1
Rail Imports 5,159 5,076 -1.6
Exports 2,170 2,433 12.1
Total 7,329 7,509 2.5
Pipeline Imports 3,053 3,509 14.9
Exports 452 756 67.2
Total 3,505 4,265 21.7
Vessel Imports 870 730 -16.1
Exports 1,104 631 -42.9
Total 1,974 1,361 -31.1
Air Imports 915 894 -2.3
Exports 1,421 1,237 -12.9
Total 2,336 2,132 -8.8

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov

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....

 

Figure 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, October 2016

Table Version | Excel

Figure 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, October 2016

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data
NOTES: Import and export numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.

 

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   October 2015 October 2016 Percent Change October 2015-2016
All Modes Imports 27,626 26,405 -4.4
Exports 21,277 20,211 -5.0
Total 48,903 46,617 -4.7
All Surface Modes Imports 24,705 23,612 -4.4
Exports 17,697 16,497 -6.8
Total 42,402 40,109 -5.4
Truck Imports 20,674 18,820 -9.0
Exports 14,944 13,762 -7.9
Total 35,618 32,581 -8.5
Rail Imports 4,008 4,780 19.3
Exports 2,486 2,388 -3.9
Total 6,494 7,168 10.4
Pipeline Imports 23 12 -47.5
Exports 267 347 29.9
Total 290 359 23.6
Vessel Imports 1,641 1,595 -2.8
Exports 1,789 2,070 15.7
Total 3,430 3,666 6.9
Air Imports 669 607 -9.3
Exports 1,068 818 -23.5
Total 1,738 1,425 -18.0

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov

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....

 

Figure 6. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, October 2016

Table Version | Excel

Figure 6. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, October 2016

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data
NOTES: Import and export numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.