WASHINGTON — Rail was the only major transportation mode to show a year-over-year increase in U.S. freight carried between North American Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. Rail freight increased 0.2 percent, while the total value of cross-border freight carried on all modes fell 3.4 percent from 2015 to $1.069 trillion. U.S.-Canada freight fell 5.4 percent by value, while U.S.-Mexico freight value decreased by 1.1 percent.
The share of commodities moving by truck increased by 1.1 percentage points, rail increased by 0.5 percentage points and air was unchanged from 2015 to 2016. The share of freight on other modes declined: pipeline by 0.5 percentage points and vessel by 1.1 percentage points, BTS reported.
A large drop in the price of crude oil in early 2016 was a major factor in the annual declines in the dollar value of goods shipped by vessel, which decreased 20.0 percent, and pipeline, which lost 12.9 percent in value.
Trucks carried 65.5 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 $362.0 billion of the $572.2 billion of imports, or 63.3 percent, and for $338.0 billion of the $496.9 billion of exports, or 68.0 percent.
Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 15.5 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel with 5.5 percent; pipeline, 4.6 percent and air, 3.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.6 percent of the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows, BTS stated.
From 2015 to 2016, the value of U.S.-Canada freight fell to $544.0 billion. Trucks carried 60.1 percent of the value of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail with 16.2 percent; pipeline, 8.4 percent; vessel 3.3 percent; and air, 4.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.8 percent of the value of total U.S.-Canada freight.
Trucks carried 53.5 percent of the $278.1 billion of 2016 imports from Canada, followed by rail, 21.1 percent; pipeline, 13.6 percent; vessel, 4.1 percent; and air, 4.0 percent. Trucks carried 67.1 percent of the $266.0 billion of 2016 exports to Canada, followed by rail, 11.2 percent; air, 5.6 percent; pipeline, 3.0 percent; and vessel, 2.5 percent.
The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada in 2016 was vehicles and parts at $106.1 billion, with $59.8 billion or 56.4 percent moving by truck.
From 2015 to 2016, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight fell to $525.1 billion. Trucks carried 71.0 percent of the value of the freight between the U.S. and Mexico, followed by rail at14.7 percent; vessel, 7.7 percent; air, 3.0 percent; and pipeline, 0.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 86.4 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight.
Trucks carried 72.5 percent of the $294.2 billion of 2016 imports from Mexico, followed by rail, 16.5 percent; vessel, 6.2 percent; air, 2.4 percent; and pipeline, 0.1 percent. Trucks carried 69.1 percent of the $231.0 billion of 2016 exports to Mexico, followed by rail, 12.4 percent; vessel, 9.6 percent; air, 3.8 percent; and pipeline, 1.6 percent.
The top commodity transported between the U.S. and Mexico in 2016 was electrical machinery at $102.6 billion, with $94.0 billion or 91.6 percent moved by truck. The next highest commodity category transported by a single mode in U.S.-Mexico freight was vehicles and parts with $43.7 billion in freight moved by rail.
The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find more news and analysis from The Trucker, and share your thoughts, on Facebook.