November NAFTA freight experiences largest monthly decrease since July 17

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 2/8/2019

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in November trucks moved more than 63 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. All but one mode, vessel freight, experienced a year-to-year increase, snapping a streak of six consecutive months of yearly increases across all five modes.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by 7 percent compared with October, when freight increased by 9 percent from the previous month. This is the largest month-to-month decrease since July 2017, when NAFTA freight dropped by nearly 11 percent. Compared to November 2017, freight was up more than 2 percent. This marks the 25th consecutive month of year-to-year increases.

In 2017, March had the largest month-to-month increase (16 percent) since March 2011, when NAFTA freight was up more than 22 percent compared to February 2011. NAFTA freight declined by nearly 11 percent in July 2017, the largest decline for the year.

In March 2017, the index reached more than $100 billion for the first time since October 2014 before going back below that mark in April. That landmark was revisited in October 2017 and maintained through November 2017 before dipping below the $100 billion mark again in December. March marked the first month in 2018 to reach beyond $100 million, which has been maintained through at least November so far.

November 2018 NAFTA shipments by state map

Truck NAFTA value by state compared to October. Blue states denote an increase, while orange states denote a decrease. (Courtesy Bureau of Transportation Statistics)


Trucks carried more than $65 billion of the more than $103 billion of imports and exports in November.

Year-to-year, Canada truck freight decreased by 2 percent, whereas Mexico freight rose by nearly 7 percent. Top truck commodities were computers and parts, electrical machinery, motor vehicles and parts, plastics and measuring/testing instruments.

Freight totaled $103.043 billion, down nearly $8 billion from the previous month but an increase of more than $2 billion from November 2017.

Pipeline freight accounted for the largest increase at 7.1 percent after an increase of 26.7 percent in October. Rail freight experienced an increase of 4 percent followed by trucks at 3 percent. Truck freight experienced increases of 9 percent in October and 4.2 percent in September. Vessel freight had the only decrease at 0.7 percent after reporting an increase of nearly 34 percent in October.

Approximately 57 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.4 percent. Of the $52.6 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 70 percent of the loads.




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