You are here

December 2016 North American Freight Numbers

Press Release Number: 
BTS 10-17
Date: 
Thursday, February 23, 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 $87.1 billion in current dollars as three out of five major transportation modes carried more freight by value with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico in December 2016 compared to December 2015, 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 0.4 percent rise from December 2015 was the third time in the last five months where 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: December 2015-2016

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

The value of commodities moving by pipeline increased 30.9 percent, vessel by 2.0 percent, and rail by 0.9 percent. Air decreased by 1.4 percent, and truck by 2.0 percent (Figure 2, Table 2). The large percentage increase in the value of goods moving by pipeline was largely due to a 40 percent increase in the year-over-year price of crude oil between December 2015 and December 2016.

Trucks carried 61.9 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 $27.4 billion of the $46.8 billion of imports (58.6 percent) and $26.4 billion of the $40.3 billion of exports (65.6 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.2 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 6.5 percent; pipeline, 6.1 percent; and air, 4.2 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.1 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: December 2015-2016

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

From December 2015 to December 2016, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows decreased by 1.2 percent to $44.5 billion as the value of freight on three modes decreased from a year earlier. The value of freight carried on truck decreased by 2.1 percent, rail by 5.4 percent, and vessel by 20.8 percent. The value of commodities moved in pipeline increased by 28.7 percent, reflecting the increased value of mineral fuels year over year. Air increased by 1.1 percent (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 13.9 percent of all U.S.-Canada mineral fuel shipments in December 2016.

Trucks carried 56.7 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 15.2 percent followed by pipeline, 11.0 percent; air, 5.0 percent; and vessel, 3.6 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.9 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: December 2015-2016

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

From December 2015 to December 2016, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows increased by 2.1 percent to $42.6 billion as the value of freight on three out of five major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of commodities moved in pipeline increased by 66.1 percent, vessel by 14.9 percent, and rail by 8.4 percent. Truck decreased by 1.9 percent, and air by 5.2 percent (Figure 4, Table 4).

Trucks carried 67.2 percent of the value of the freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 15.2 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico followed by vessel, 9.6 percent; air, 3.4 percent; and pipeline, 0.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.3 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 4).

Commodities
In December 2016, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by all modes was vehicles and parts, of which $4.4 billion, or 57.6 percent, moved by truck and $3.0 billion, or 39.9 percent, moved by rail (Figure 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico by all modes in December 2016 was electrical machinery, of which $7.2 billion, or 90.8 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 January TransBorder numbers for March 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 87,086 -9.5 0.4
Annual 1,192,671 1,106,325 1,069,138 -7.2 -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   December 2015 December 2016 Percent Change December 2015-2016
All Modes Imports 46,750 46,814 0.1
Exports 39,998 40,271 0.7
Total 86,748 87,086 0.4
All Surface Modes Imports 40,380 40,605 0.6
Exports 31,763 31,778 0.0
Total 72,143 72,383 0.3
Truck Imports 28,049 27,432 -2.2
Exports 26,937 26,431 -1.9
Total 54,986 53,863 -2.0
Rail Imports 8,950 8,970 0.2
Exports 4,170 4,264 2.3
Total 13,120 13,234 0.9
Pipeline Imports 3,381 4,203 24.3
Exports 656 1,083 65.1
Total 4,037 5,286 30.9
Vessel Imports 2,761 2,838 2.8
Exports 2,806 2,838 1.1
Total 5,567 5,676 2.0
Air Imports 1,449 1,535 5.9
Exports 2,299 2,159 -6.1
Total 3,748 3,694 -1.4

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   December 2015 December 2016 Percent Change December 2015-2016
All Modes Imports 23,589 23,311 -1.2
Exports 21,418 21,161 -1.2
Total 45,006 44,471 -1.2
All Surface Modes Imports 19,982 20,225 1.2
Exports 16,742 16,650 -0.5
Total 36,724 36,875 0.4
Truck Imports 11,395 11,243 -1.3
Exports 14,374 13,972 -2.8
Total 25,769 25,215 -2.1
Rail Imports 5,228 4,795 -8.3
Exports 1,930 1,977 2.4
Total 7,158 6,772 -5.4
Pipeline Imports 3,359 4,187 24.7
Exports 438 701 60.0
Total 3,797 4,888 28.7
Vessel Imports 1,094 1,116 2.0
Exports 922 480 -47.9
Total 2,016 1,596 -20.8
Air Imports 899 909 1.1
Exports 1,315 1,330 1.1
Total 2,214 2,239 1.1

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, December 2016

Table VersionExcel

Figure 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, December 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   December 2015 December 2016 Percent Change December 2015-2016
All Modes Imports 23,161 23,504 1.5
Exports 18,581 19,110 2.8
Total 41,742 42,614 2.1
All Surface Modes Imports 20,398 20,379 -0.1
Exports 15,020 15,129 0.7
Total 35,418 35,508 0.3
Truck Imports 16,654 16,189 -2.8
Exports 12,563 12,459 -0.8
Total 29,217 28,648 -1.9
Rail Imports 3,722 4,175 12.2
Exports 2,240 2,288 2.1
Total 5,962 6,463 8.4
Pipeline Imports 22 15 -29.5
Exports 217 382 75.7
Total 239 397 66.1
Vessel Imports 1,667 1,722 3.3
Exports 1,884 2,357 25.1
Total 3,551 4,079 14.9
Air Imports 550 627 13.9
Exports 985 829 -15.8
Total 1,535 1,456 -5.2

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, December 2016

Table Version | Excel

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

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