Cross-border freight picks up in May across all transport modes

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Thursday, July 27, 2017

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

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by nearly 8 percent compared with April when freight was down more than 9 percent from the previous month. March experienced the largest month-to-month increase (16 percent) since March 2011 when NAFTA freight was up more than 22 percent compared to February 2011.

Compared to May 2016, freight was up more than 9 percent. This marks the seventh consecutive month of year-to-year increases. Nine of 12 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

May’s large increase was the first year-to-year increase since March. 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 $62 billion of the $98 billion of imports and exports in May. Rail came in second with more than $15 billion.

Freight totaled $98.246 billion, up more than $7 billion from the previous month and an increase of more than $8 billion from May 2016.

Pipeline freight experienced the largest increase at 60.3 percent after an increase of 63.5 percent in April. Trucks experienced the smallest increase at 5 percent. In April, truck freight experienced the largest decrease at 5.5 percent.

Nearly 58 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at more than 16 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by more than 7 percent compared with May 2016. Of the $47 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 70 percent of the loads.

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