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November 2016 North American Freight Numbers

Press Release Number: 
BTS 06-17
Date: 
Thursday, January 19, 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 $91.1 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 November 2016 compared to November 2015, 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 3.3 percent rise from November 2015 was only the second time since December 2014 in which the year-over-year value of U.S.-NAFTA freight increased from the same month of the previous year.

Freight by Mode

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

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

The value of commodities moving by pipeline increased 30.6 percent, vessel by 12.5 percent, air by 6.2 percent, rail by 5.1 percent, and truck by 0.6 percent (Figure 2, Table 2).

Trucks carried 64.5 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 $30.7 billion of the $49.8 billion of imports (61.6 percent) and $28.0 billion of the $41.3 billion of exports (67.8 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.3 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 5.9 percent; pipeline, 5.3 percent; and air, 3.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.1 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: November 2015-2016

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

From November 2015 to November 2016, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 2.2 percent to $46.1 billion as the value of freight on three modes increased from a year earlier. The value of freight carried on pipeline increased by 30.1 percent, reflecting the increased value of mineral fuels year over year. Air increased by 6.3 percent, and rail by 0.6 percent (Figure 3, Table 3). Truck decreased by 0.1 percent and vessel by 3.3 percent. 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 15.6 percent of all U.S.-Canada mineral fuel shipments in November 2016

Trucks carried 59.0 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16.0 percent followed by pipeline, 9.8 percent; air, 4.8 percent; and vessel, 3.4 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.9 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: November 2015-2016

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

From November 2015 to November 2016, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows increased by 4.5 percent to $45.0 billion as the value of freight on all five major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of goods moved in pipeline increased by 37.3 percent, vessel by 20.6 percent, rail by 10.6 percent, air by 6.0 percent, and truck by 1.2 percent (Figure 4, Table 4).

Trucks carried 70.1 percent of the value of the freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 14.6 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico followed by vessel, 8.5 percent; air, 3.0 percent; and pipeline, 0.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.4 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 4).

Commodities

In November 2016, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by all modes was vehicles and parts, of which $5.0 billion, or 56.6 percent, moved by truck and $3.6 billion, or 41.0 percent, moved by rail (Figure 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico by all modes in November 2016 was electrical machinery, of which $8.5 billion, or 92.6 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 December TransBorder numbers for Feb. 23.

 

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 91,089 -8.4 3.3
December 95,811 86,748   -9.5  
Year-to-date 1,096,861 1,019,577 982,052 -7.0 -3.7
Annual 1,192,671 1,106,325   -7.2  

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, TransBorder Freight Data

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   November 2015 November 2016 Percent Change November 2015-2016
All Modes Imports 46,834 49,781 6.3
Exports 41,319 41,308 0.0
Total 88,154 91,089 3.3
All Surface Modes Imports 41,952 43,982 4.8
Exports 33,420 33,561 0.4
Total 75,373 77,543 2.9
Truck Imports 30,030 30,680 2.2
Exports 28,319 28,027 -1.0
Total 58,349 58,707 0.6
Rail Imports 8,918 9,462 6.1
Exports 4,378 4,508 3.0
Total 13,296 13,970 5.1
Pipeline Imports 3,004 3,841 27.9
Exports 723 1,025 41.7
Total 3,727 4,866 30.6
Vessel Imports 2,309 2,733 18.4
Exports 2,484 2,659 7.0
Total 4,793 5,391 12.5
Air Imports 1,346 1,580 17.4
Exports 1,969 1,940 -1.5
Total 3,314 3,520 6.2

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, TransBorder Freight Data

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_DataFields.html.

 

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   November 2015 November 2016 Percent Change November 2015-2016
All Modes Imports 22,728 24,395 7.3
Exports 22,383 21,716 -3.0
Total 45,111 46,111 2.2
All Surface Modes Imports 20,364 21,632 6.2
Exports 17,701 17,495 -1.2
Total 38,065 39,126 2.8
Truck Imports 12,134 12,502 3.0
Exports 15,095 14,697 -2.6
Total 27,229 27,199 -0.1
Rail Imports 5,242 5,300 1.1
Exports 2,108 2,093 -0.7
Total 7,350 7,393 0.6
Pipeline Imports 2,988 3,829 28.1
Exports 498 705 41.7
Total 3,486 4,535 30.1
Vessel Imports 806 909 12.8
Exports 816 660 -19.2
Total 1,623 1,569 -3.3
Air Imports 827 961 16.2
Exports 1,234 1,230 -0.3
Total 2,062 2,192 6.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, TransBorder Freight Data

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_DataFields.html.

 

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

Table Version | Excel

Figure 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, November 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   November 2015 November 2016 Percent Change November 2015-2016
All Modes Imports 24,106 25,386 5.3
Exports 18,937 19,592 3.5
Total 43,043 44,978 4.5
All Surface Modes Imports 21,588 22,351 3.5
Exports 15,720 16,066 2.2
Total 37,308 38,417 3.0
Truck Imports 17,897 18,177 1.6
Exports 13,224 13,331 0.8
Total 31,121 31,508 1.2
Rail Imports 3,676 4,162 13.2
Exports 2,270 2,416 6.4
Total 5,946 6,577 10.6
Pipeline Imports 16 12 -24.9
Exports 226 320 41.6
Total 241 331 37.3
Vessel Imports 1,502 1,823 21.3
Exports 1,668 1,999 19.8
Total 3,170 3,822 20.6
Air Imports 518 618 19.4
Exports 734 710 -3.4
Total 1,252 1,328 6.0

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, TransBorder Freight Data

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_DataFields.html.

 

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

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

NOTES: Import and export numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.