WASHINGTON — U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $94.4 billion as three out of five major transportation modes carried more freight by value with North American Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico in September 2017 compared to September 2016, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
The 3.6 percent rise from September 2016 is the 11th consecutive month in which the year-over-year value in current dollars of U.S.-NAFTA freight increased from the same month of the previous year.
The value of commodities moving by vessel increased 28.6 percent, pipeline by 9.1 percent, and truck by 2.9 percent. Rail decreased by 3.3 percent and air decreased by 3.4 percent. The large percentage increase in the value of goods moving by vessel is due in part to an increase in the unit value and a 6.1 percent increase in the volume of mineral fuels traded.
Trucks carried 64.3 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight and continued to be the most utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $31.0 billion of the $50.2 billion of imports (61.8 percent) and $29.7 billion of the $44.2 billion of exports (67.2 percent).
Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 14.9 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 6.7 percent; pipeline, 5.2 percent; and air, 3.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.4 percent of the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows.
Comparing September 2016 to September 2017, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 5 percent to $48.5 billion as the value of freight on four major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of freight carried on vessel increased by 52.4 percent due in part to an increase in the unit value and a 23.9 percent increase in the volume of mineral fuels traded. Pipeline increased by 11.1 percent, truck by 3.1 percent, and rail by 2.4 percent. Air decreased by 5.0 percent due to a notable decrease of 13.5 percent in the value of pearls and stones transported.
Trucks carried 58.6 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16.0 percent followed by pipeline, 9.5 percent; air, 4.6 percent; and vessel, 4.3 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.1 percent of the value of total U.S.-Canada freight flows.
Comparing September 2016 to September 2017, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows increased by 2.1 percent to $45.9 billion as the value of freight on two major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of commodities moved by vessel increased by 19.4 percent, and truck by 2.8 percent. Air decreased by 0.6 percent, rail by 9.6 percent, and pipeline by 15.9 percent due primarily to decreases in the volumes of mineral fuels exported.
Trucks carried 70.4 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 13.6 percent followed by vessel, 9.2 percent; air, 3.0 percent; and pipeline, 0.6 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.6 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.
In September 2017, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was vehicles and parts, of which $5.2 billion, or 57.1 percent, moved by truck and $3.6 billion, or 40.3 percent by rail. The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in September 2017 was electrical machinery, of which $8.1 billion, or 92.0 percent, moved by truck and $0.5 billion, or 5.5 percent, moved by air.