WASHINGTON — For the first time since December 2014, North American Free Trade Agreement cross border freight increased in value from the same month in the previous year, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. Two transportation modes – air and truck – carried more cross-border freight by value in August 2016 compared to August 2015, resulting in a 0.7 percent increase to $93.1 billion in the total current dollar value of freight moved.
The value of commodities moving by air increased 4.9 percent while truck-delivered freight rose 3.4 percent in value. The value of freight carried on other modes decreased. Trucks carried 65.3 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 $31.2 billion of the $49.7 billion of imports (62.8 percent) and $29.6 billion of the $43.4 billion of exports (68.3 percent).
Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.3 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 5.8 percent; pipeline, 5.1 percent; and air, 3.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.7 percent of the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows.
The total value of U.S.-Canada freight fell to $47.3 billion, down 1.4 percent from a year earlier, due to decreases in the value of goods moved by vessel and pipeline.
Trucks carried 59.6 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16.5 percent followed by pipeline, 9.0 percent; air, 4.7 percent; and vessel, 3.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.1 percent of the value of total U.S.-Canada freight flows.
From August 2015 to August 2016, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight increased 3.0 percent to $45.8 billion as three modes of transportation – pipeline, truck and air – carried a higher value of U.S.-Mexico freight than a year earlier. Freight carried by pipeline increased by 45.1 percent, truck by 5.4 percent and air by 0.1 percent. Rail decreased 3.8 percent and vessel decreased by 4.9 percent.
Trucks carried 71.2 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 14.1 percent followed by vessel, 7.8 percent; air, 2.8 percent; and pipeline, 1.1 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 86.4 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.
In August 2016, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by all modes was vehicles and parts, of which $5.2 billion, or 55.1 percent, moved by truck and $4.0 billion, or 42.5 percent, moved by rail. The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico by all modes in August 2016 was electrical machinery, of which $7.4 billion, or 79.5 percent, moved by truck.