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February 2017 North American Freight Numbers

Press Release Number: 
BTS 22_17
Date: 
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

PDF | Excel

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 $86.5 billion in current dollars as three major transportation modes – pipeline, vessel and rail – carried more freight by value with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico in February 2017 compared to February 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 2.9 percent rise from February 2016 was the fourth consecutive 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: February 2016-2017

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

The value of commodities moving by pipeline increased 65.2 percent, vessel by 36.9 percent, and rail by 7.0 percent. Air decreased by 1.6 percent and truck decreased by 3.6 percent (Figure 2, Table 2). The large percentage increase in the value of goods moving by pipeline and vessel was largely due to a 76 percent increase in the year-over-year price of crude oil between February 2016 and February 2017.

The top commodity transported by truck in U.S.-NAFTA trade, computer related machinery and parts, was down in value by 10.7 percent from February 2016 to February 2017.

Trucks carried 63.2 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 $28.1 billion of the $47.2 billion of imports (59.7 percent) and $26.5 billion of the $39.3 billion of exports (67.4 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 16.2 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by pipeline, 6.5 percent; vessel, 5.7 percent; and air, 3.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.9 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: February 2016-2017

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

From February 2016 to February 2017, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 4.2 percent to $44.4 billion as the value of freight on three major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of freight carried on pipeline increased by 69.7 percent, rail by 6.3 percent, and vessel by 1.2 percent. Air decreased by 1.5 percent, and truck by 2.2 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 57.7 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16.9 percent followed by pipeline, 12.0 percent; air, 4.5 percent; and vessel, 2.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 86.6 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: February 2016-2017

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

From February 2016 to February 2017, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows increased by 1.5 percent to $42.1 billion as the value of freight on three major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of commodities moved by vessel increased by 54.2 percent, pipeline by 9.5 percent, and rail by 7.8 percent. Air decreased by 1.8 percent, and truck by 4.7 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 68.9 percent of the value of the freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 15.5 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico followed by vessel, 8.9 percent; air, 2.7 percent; and pipeline, 0.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.1 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 4).

Commodities
In February 2017, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by all modes was vehicles and parts, of which $4.9 billion, or 56.4 percent, moved by truck and $3.6 billion, or 41.3 percent, moved by rail (Figure 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico by all modes in February 2017 was vehicles and parts, of which $3.8 billion or 47.9 percent moved by rail (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 May 25.

 

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 86,474 -2.0 2.9
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 174,982 166,467 174,435 -4.9 4.8
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   February 2016 February 2017 Percent Change February 2016-2017
All Modes Imports 45,010 47,175 4.8
Exports 39,028 39,299 0.7
Total 84,038 86,474 2.9
All Surface Modes Imports 40,459 41,873 3.5
Exports 32,667 32,364 -0.9
Total 73,126 74,238 1.5
Truck Imports 29,301 28,140 -4.0
Exports 27,327 26,474 -3.1
Total 56,629 54,613 -3.6
Rail Imports 8,547 9,435 10.4
Exports 4,556 4,581 0.6
Total 13,103 14,017 7.0
Pipeline Imports 2,611 4,298 64.6
Exports 784 1,309 67.1
Total 3,395 5,608 65.2
Vessel Imports 1,917 2,613 36.3
Exports 1,675 2,307 37.7
Total 3,593 4,920 36.9
Air Imports 1,423 1,341 -5.7
Exports 1,789 1,820 1.7
Total 3,212 3,161 -1.6

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....

 

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   February 2016 February 2017 Percent Change February 2016-2017
All Modes Imports 21,818 23,265 6.6
Exports 20,801 21,152 1.7
Total 42,620 44,418 4.2
All Surface Modes Imports 19,471 20,922 7.4
Exports 16,936 17,539 3.6
Total 36,408 38,461 5.6
Truck Imports 12,071 11,602 -3.9
Exports 14,130 14,018 -0.8
Total 26,201 25,620 -2.2
Rail Imports 4,808 5,035 4.7
Exports 2,261 2,478 9.6
Total 7,068 7,513 6.3
Pipeline Imports 2,593 4,285 65.3
Exports 546 1,042 91.1
Total 3,138 5,327 69.7
Vessel Imports 738 928 25.8
Exports 433 258 -40.5
Total 1,171 1,185 1.2
Air Imports 893 852 -4.6
Exports 1,147 1,158 0.9
Total 2,041 2,010 -1.5

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, February 2017

Table Version | Excel

Figure 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, February 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   February 2016 February 2017 Percent Change February 2016-2017
All Modes Imports 23,192 23,910 3.1
Exports 18,226 18,147 -0.4
Total 41,418 42,057 1.5
All Surface Modes Imports 20,988 20,951 -0.2
Exports 15,731 14,826 -5.8
Total 36,718 35,777 -2.6
Truck Imports 17,230 16,537 -4.0
Exports 13,197 12,456 -5.6
Total 30,428 28,993 -4.7
Rail Imports 3,739 4,400 17.7
Exports 2,295 2,103 -8.4
Total 6,035 6,503 7.8
Pipeline Imports 18 14 -24.4
Exports 238 267 12.1
Total 256 281 9.5
Vessel Imports 1,180 1,685 42.9
Exports 1,242 2,049 65.0
Total 2,422 3,735 54.2
Air Imports 529 489 -7.7
Exports 642 662 3.0
Total 1,172 1,151 -1.8

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, February 2017

Table Version | Excel

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

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