WASHINGTON — U.S. NAFTA freight totaled $100.3 billion in current dollars as all five major transportation modes carried more freight by value with North American Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico in March 2017 compared to March 2016, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).
March was the first time since October 2014 that U.S.-NAFTA freight has exceeded $100 billion.
The 10.9 percent rise from March 2016 is the fifth consecutive month in which the year-over-year value of U.S.-NAFTA freight increased from the same month of the previous year.
It is also the first double digit year-over-year percent increase in 33 months.
The value of commodities moving by pipeline increased 81.3 percent, vessel by 38.2 percent, air by 13.5 percent, rail by 12.6 percent, and truck by 5.0 percent.
The large percentage increase in the value of goods moving by pipeline and vessel is due in part to a 31 percent increase in the year-over-year price of crude oil between March 2016 and March 2017.
Trucks carried 63.7 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 $32.6 billion of the $54.3 billion of imports (60.0 percent) and $31.3 billion of the $45.9 billion of exports (68.1 percent).
Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.8 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by pipeline, 5.9 percent; vessel, 5.6 percent; and air, 4.1 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.4 percent of the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows.
From March 2016 to March 2017, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 10.4 percent to $51.2 billion as the value of freight on all five major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of freight carried on pipeline increased by 87.3 percent, vessel by 42.9 percent, air by 8.4 percent, rail by 5.1 percent, and truck by 3.9 percent. The increase in the value of commodities moved by pipeline and vessel reflects the increased value of mineral fuels year over year.
Trucks carried 58.5 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16.2 percent followed by pipeline, 11.0 percent; air, 4.8 percent; and vessel, 2.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.6 percent of the value of total U.S.-Canada freight flows.
From March 2016 to March 2017, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows increased by 11.3 percent to $49.1 billion as the value of freight on all five major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of commodities moved by vessel increased by 36.5 percent, air by 22.2 percent, rail by 22.0 percent, pipeline by 8.9 percent, and truck by 6.0 percent. The increase in the value of commodities moved by vessel reflects the increased value of mineral fuels year over year.
Trucks carried 69.2 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 15.4 percent followed by vessel, 8.3 percent; air, 3.3 percent; and pipeline, 0.6 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.1 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.
In March 2017, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was vehicles and parts, of which $5.6 billion, or 58.0 percent, moved by truck and $3.8 billion, or 39.5 percent, moved by rail. The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in March 2017 was also vehicles and parts, of which $4.4 billion or 45.7 percent moved by rail.