Cross-border freight off to strong start with largest increase since 2014

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Thursday, March 23, 2017

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in January trucks moved more than 62 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. All five modes experienced an increase compared to January 2016.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by 1 percent compared with December when freight was down more than 4 percent from the previous month. Nine of 12 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

Compared to January 2016, freight was up nearly 7 percent. This marks the largest year-to-year increase since September 2014 when U.S.-NAFTA freight increased by 8.2 percent from September 2013.

August, November and December were the only months to experience a year-to-year increase in 2016 at 0.7 percent, 3.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. August was the first year-to-year increase since December 2014 when freight increased by more than 5 percent.

Trucks were responsible for nearly $55 billion of the $88 billion of imports and exports in January. Rail came in second with more than $13 billion.

Freight totaled $87.960 billion, up nearly $900 million from the previous month and an increase of more than $5.5 billion from January 2016.

Pipeline freight experienced the largest increase at 42.7 percent after an increase of 30.9 percent in December. Trucks had a 0.4 percent increase, the smallest increase after experiencing the largest decrease in December when three of five modes went up.
Nearly 57 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.1 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 6.3 percent compared with January 2016. Of the $43 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 69 percent of the loads.

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