Cross-border freight slows down in April, still up year-to-year

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 6/22/2017

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in April trucks moved nearly 63 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Three of five modes experienced an increase in freight year-to-year.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by more than 9 percent compared with March when freight was up 16 percent from the previous month. This marks the largest month-to-month decrease since July 2016 when NAFTA freight was down nearly 10 percent compared to June 2016.

Compared to April 2016, freight was up 0.8 percent. This marks the sixth consecutive month of year-to-year increases. Nine of 12 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

April’s slight decrease was the smallest year-to-year increase since last December when NAFTA freight decreased by 0.4 percent compared to December 2015. In March, the index reached above $100 billion for the first time since October 2014.

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 more than $57 billion of the $91.068 billion of imports and exports in April. Rail came in second with nearly $15 billion.

Freight totaled $91.068 billion, down more than $9 billion from the previous month and an increase of $688 million from April 2016.

Pipeline freight experienced the largest increase at 63.5 percent after an increase of 81.3 percent in March. Trucks experienced the largest decrease at 5.5 percent. In March, truck freight experienced the smallest increase at 5 percent.
Nearly 58 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at nearly 18 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went down by 1 percent compared with April 2016. Of the $44 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 68 percent of the loads.

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