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December 2016 North American freight numbers released

US-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

US-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 US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

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.


Freight by Mode

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. 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).

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.

U.S.-Canada Freight

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. 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.

U.S.-Mexico Freight

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.

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.