All transportation modes except rail carried less cross-border freight by value in July 2016 compared to July 2015, resulting in a 10.0 percent decrease to $83.7 billion in the total current dollar value of freight moved. The $83.7 billion in July 2016 cross-border freight is the lowest monthly amount since February 2011, which had $76.7 billion in cross-border freight. July was the 19th consecutive month that the total value of U.S. freight with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico declined from the same month of the previous year, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).
Freight by Mode
The value of commodities moving by rail increased 0.9 percent while the value of freight carried on other modes decreased: air by 6.4 percent; truck by 8.8 percent; vessel by 25.1 percent; and pipeline by 26.9 percent. The increase in rail is due in part to the a 14 percent year-over-year increase in the value of vehicles and parts traded with Mexico. A drop in the price of crude oil played a role in the large declines in the dollar value of products shipped by vessel and pipeline. Crude oil (a component of mineral fuels) comprises a large share of the commodities carried by these modes. Average monthly prices for crude petroleum and refined fuel are available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Mineral fuels, a commodity category that includes crude oil and coal, accounted for 10.1 percent of total value of U.S.-NAFTA trade in July.
Trucks carried 64.7 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight and continued to be the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $27.8 billion of the $44.6 billion of imports (62.4 percent) and $26.4 billion of the $39.1 billion of exports (67.4 percent).
Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.4 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 6.1 percent; pipeline, 4.9 percent; and air, 4.0 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.0 percent of the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows .
From July 2015 to July 2016, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows fell 10.7 percent to $42.4 billion as all modes of transportation carried a lower value of U.S.-Canada freight than a year earlier.
Lower crude oil prices contributed to a year-over-year decrease in the value of freight moved between the U.S. and Canada. Crude oil is a large share of freight carried by pipeline and vessel, which were down 28.0 percent and 37.1 percent respectively year-over-year.
Trucks carried 59.7 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 15.7 percent followed by pipeline, 8.8 percent; air, 5.0 percent; and vessel, 3.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.3 percent of the value of total U.S.-Canada freight flows.
From July 2015 to July 2016, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight declined 9.2 percent to $41.3 billion as all modes of transportation except rail carried a lower value of U.S.-Mexico freight than a year earlier. Freight carried by rail increased 4.2 percent. Air decreased 8.2 percent and truck decreased by 10.1 percent. Pipeline and vessel freight value dropped by 12.3 percent and 18.2 percent respectively, both due mainly to lower crude oil prices.
Trucks carried 69.9 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 15.1 percent followed by vessel, 8.6 percent; air, 3.0 percent; and pipeline, 0.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.8 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.