The value of U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $93.2 billion in September 2015 as all modes of transportation carried less value of freight than a year earlier, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released today by theU.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows by all modes decreased by 8.8 percent. Large decreases in the value of commodities moved by pipeline and vessel in September were due to the reduced unit price of mineral fuel.
Freight by Mode
In September 2015 compared to September 2014, the value of commodities moving by truck decreased by 0.1 percent, while air decreased by 4.0 percent and rail by 12.2 percent. Vessel freight values decreased 38.9 percent and pipeline freight decreased 41.8 percent mainly due to the lower unit price of mineral fuel.
Average monthly fuel prices are available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. A decline in the value of freight shipments does not necessarily mean there was a lower volume of freight transported.
Trucks carried 65.7 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $31.7 billion of the $50.5 billion of imports (62.8 percent) and $29.6 billion of the $42.7 billion of exports (69.2 percent).
Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 14.4 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 5.6 percent; pipeline, 5.1 percent; and air, 3.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.2 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows.
The value of U.S.-Canada freight totaled $48.3 billion in September 2015, down 15.8 percent from September 2014, as all modes of transportation carried less value of U.S.-Canada freight than a year earlier.
Lower mineral fuel prices contributed to a year-over-year decrease in the value of freight moved between the U.S. and Canada. Mineral fuels are a large share of freight carried by vessel and pipeline, which were down 35.7 percent and 42.1 percent respectively year-over-year.
Trucks carried 59.1 percent of the $48.3 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 15.1 percent; pipeline, 9.2 percent; air, 4.9 percent; and vessel, 4.0 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.4 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.
The value of U.S.-Mexico freight totaled $45.0 billion in September 2015, up 0.2 percent from September 2014, as two out of five transportation modes – rail and truck – carried more U.S.-Mexico freight than in September 2014. Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Mexico truck freight rose 7.9 percent, the largest percentage increase of any mode. The top three commodities carried by truck had double digit increases in value: electrical machinery up 16.3 percent, computer equipment up 10.2 percent and vehicles and parts up 12.9 percent. Freight carried by rail increased by 1.4 percent. The top commodity carried by rail, vehicles and parts, was up 8.9 percent. Air freight was down 6.9 percent and pipeline freight declined 37.0 percent. Vessel freight decreased by 40.7 percent mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices.
Trucks carried 72.8 percent of the $45.0 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 13.6 percent; vessel, 7.4 percent; air, 2.8 percent; and pipeline, 0.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 87.1 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.
See BTS Transborder Statistics Release for summary tables and additional data. See North American Transborder Freight Data on the BTS website for additional data for surface modes since 1995 and all modes since 2004.