October Freight Numbers Down 3.6 Percent
By Eric G Braun
Three transportation modes – air, vessel, and truck – carried less U.S. freight by value with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico in October 2016, compared with October 2015, as total freight on all modes decreased 3.6 percent to $93.2 billion in current dollars, per the annual Trans Border Freight Data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).
The total value of cross-border freight has declined from the same month of the previous year in 21 of the past 22 months, beginning in January 2015, with only an increase of 0.7 percent in August 2016.
The value of commodities moving by truck decreased 6.1 percent; vessel by 7.0 percent and air by 12.7 percent, while the value of freight carried on pipeline and rail increased 21.8 percent and 6.2 percent respectively.
Trucks carried 65.3 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 $31.9 billion of the $50.3 billion of imports (63.4 percent) and $29.0 billion of the $42.9 billion of exports (67.6 percent).
From October 2015 to October 2016, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows fell 2.5 percent to $46.5 billion due to decreases in the value of goods moved by vessel (down 31.1 percent), air (down 8.8 percent) and truck (down 3.1 percent). The value of freight carried on pipeline and rail increased 21.7 percent and 2.5 percent respectively. During this 12-month period, much of the mineral fuel freight between Texas and Canada shifted from vessel to pipeline as the value of mineral fuel shipments carried by vessel between Texas and Canada decreased while the value of pipeline shipments rose. Texas-Canada mineral fuel trade made up about 25.5 percent of all U.S.-Canada mineral fuel shipments in October 2016.
Trucks carried 60.8 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16.1 percent followed by pipeline, 9.2 percent; air, 4.6 percent; and vessel, 2.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 86.0 percent of the value of total U.S.-Canada freight flows.
From October 2015 to October 2016, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows fell 4.7 percent to $46.6 billion due to decreases in the value of goods moved by air (down 18.0 percent) and truck (down 8.5 percent). The value of freight carried on three modes increased: pipeline, by 23.6 percent; rail by 10.4 percent; and vessel by 6.9 percent.
Trucks carried 69.9 percent of the value of the freight to and from Mexico. Rail carried 15.4 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico followed by vessel, 7.9 percent; air, 3.1 percent; and pipeline, 0.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 86.0 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.
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