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January 2017 North American Freight Numbers

Press Release Number: 
BTS 16-17
Date: 
Thursday, March 23, 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

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $88.0 billion in current dollars as all five major transportation modes carried more freight by value with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico in January 2017 compared to January 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 6.7 percent rise from January 2016 was the largest year-over-year increase since the September 2014 increase over September 2013. It was also the third straight month in which the year-over-year value of U.S.-NAFTA freight increased 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: January 2016-2017

Table Version | Excel

Figure 2. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: January 2016-2017

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

The value of commodities moving by pipeline increased 42.7 percent, vessel by 41.8 percent, air by 13.7 percent, rail by 5.5 percent, and truck by 0.4 percent (Figure 2, Table 2). The large percentage increase in the value of goods moving by pipeline and vessel was largely due to a 66 percent increase in the year-over-year price of crude oil between January 2016 and January 2017.

Trucks carried 62.5 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 $28.2 billion of the $47.8 billion of imports (59.1 percent) and $26.8 billion of the $40.2 billion of exports (66.6 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.0 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 7.0 percent; pipeline, 6.4 percent; and air, 3.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.0 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: January 2016-2017

Table Version | Excel

Figure 3. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode: January 2016-2017

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

From January 2016 to January 2017, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 7.1 percent to $45.0 billion as the value of freight on five major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of freight carried on pipeline increased by 44.0 percent, air by 17.0 percent, vessel by 13.0 percent, rail by 8.5 percent, and truck by 0.5 percent. The increase in the value of commodities moved in pipeline reflects the increased value of mineral fuels year over year (Figure 3, Table 3).

Trucks carried 56.8 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16.1 percent followed by pipeline, 11.8 percent; air, 4.8 percent; and vessel, 4.1 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.7 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: January 2016-2017

Table Version | Excel

Figure 4. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode: January 2016-2017

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

From January 2016 to January 2017, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows increased by 6.3 percent to $43.0 billion as the value of freight on five major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of commodities moved by vessel increased by 58.9 percent, pipeline by 26.4 percent, air by 8.6 percent, rail by 2.1 percent, and truck by 0.3 percent. The increase in the value of commodities moved by vessel reflects the increased value of mineral fuels year over year (Figure 4, Table 4).

Trucks carried 68.6 percent of the value of the freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 13.9 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico followed by vessel, 10.1 percent; air, 3.0 percent; and pipeline, 0.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.2 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 4).

Commodities
In January 2017, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by all modes was vehicles and parts, of which $4.6 billion, or 57.3 percent, moved by truck and $3.2 billion, or 40.1 percent, moved by rail (Figure 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico by all modes in January 2017 was electrical machinery, of which $7.4 billion, or 91.4 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 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 February TransBorder numbers for April 27.

 

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

(millions of current dollars)

Month 2015 2016 2017 Percent Change 2015-2016 Percent Change 2016-2017
January 89,258 82,430 87,960 -7.7 6.7
February 85,723 84,038   -2.0  
March 96,070 90,462   -5.8  
April 93,327 90,380   -3.2  
May 92,707 89,840   -3.1  
June 99,030 92,671   -6.4  
July 92,995 83,725   -10.0  
August 92,442 93,126   0.7  
September 93,246 91,126   -2.3  
October 96,624 93,165   -3.6  
November 88,154 91,089   3.3  
December 86,748 87,086   0.4  
Year-to-date 89,258 82,430 87,960 -7.7 6.7
Annual 1,106,325 1,069,138   -3.4  

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://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   January 2016 January 2017 Percent Change January 2016-2017
All Modes Imports 44,565 47,764 7.2
Exports 37,865 40,196 6.2
Total 82,430 87,960 6.7
All Surface Modes Imports 39,847 41,494 4.1
Exports 31,393 32,355 3.1
Total 71,240 73,849 3.7
Truck Imports 28,387 28,222 -0.6
Exports 26,390 26,781 1.5
Total 54,777 55,003 0.4
Rail Imports 8,343 8,899 6.7
Exports 4,163 4,300 3.3
Total 12,506 13,199 5.5
Pipeline Imports 3,116 4,373 40.3
Exports 840 1,274 51.7
Total 3,957 5,647 42.7
Vessel Imports 2,239 3,291 47.0
Exports 2,119 2,891 36.4
Total 4,359 6,182 41.8
Air Imports 1,278 1,474 15.3
Exports 1,736 1,955 12.6
Total 3,014 3,429 13.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://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   January 2016 January 2017 Percent Change January 2016-2017
All Modes Imports 22,164 24,282 9.6
Exports 19,799 20,663 4.4
Total 41,963 44,945 7.1
All Surface Modes Imports 19,587 21,205 8.3
Exports 16,150 16,842 4.3
Total 35,737 38,048 6.5
Truck Imports 11,709 11,782 0.6
Exports 13,677 13,729 0.4
Total 25,387 25,511 0.5
Rail Imports 4,782 5,061 5.8
Exports 1,887 2,177 15.4
Total 6,669 7,238 8.5
Pipeline Imports 3,096 4,362 40.9
Exports 585 937 60.0
Total 3,681 5,299 44.0
Vessel Imports 1,031 1,421 37.9
Exports 587 406 -30.7
Total 1,617 1,828 13.0
Air Imports 797 933 17.1
Exports 1,039 1,216 17.0
Total 1,836 2,149 17.0

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://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, January 2017

Table Version | Excel

Figure 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, January 2017

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   January 2016 January 2017 Percent Change January 2016-2017
All Modes Imports 22,401 23,482 4.8
Exports 18,066 19,534 8.1
Total 40,467 43,015 6.3
All Surface Modes Imports 20,260 20,289 0.1
Exports 15,243 15,513 1.8
Total 35,503 35,801 0.8
Truck Imports 16,678 16,440 -1.4
Exports 12,712 13,053 2.7
Total 29,390 29,492 0.3
Rail Imports 3,561 3,838 7.8
Exports 2,276 2,123 -6.7
Total 5,837 5,961 2.1
Pipeline Imports 21 11 -48.7
Exports 255 337 32.5
Total 275 348 26.4
Vessel Imports 1,208 1,870 54.8
Exports 1,533 2,485 62.1
Total 2,741 4,355 58.9
Air Imports 481 540 12.4
Exports 697 739 6.0
Total 1,178 1,280 8.6

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, https://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, January 2017

Table Version | Excel

Figure 6. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, January 2017

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