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May 24, 2017

Cross-border freight flows within NAFTA were up 10.9 percent in March

The value of cross-border freight exchanged by North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners was up 10.9 percent in March 2017 compared to March 2016, reaching a total of $100.3 billion, according to the TransBorder Freight Data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

It was the fifth consecutive month in which the year-over-year value of U.S.-NAFTA freight increased from the same month of the previous year (Figure 1). It is also the first double digit year-over-year percent increase in 33 months.

Trucks carried 63.7 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 $32.6 billion of the $54.3 billion of imports (60.0 percent) and $31.3 billion of the $45.9 billion of exports (68.1 percent). Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.8 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by pipeline, 5.9 percent; vessel, 5.6 percent; and air, 4.1 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.4 percent of the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows

From March 2016 to March 2017, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 10.4 percent to $51.2 billion as the value of freight on all five major modes increased from a year earlier. The value of freight carried on pipeline increased by 87.3 percent, vessel by 42.9 percent, air by 8.4 percent, rail by 5.1 percent, and truck by 3.9 percent. The increase in the value of commodities moved by pipeline and vessel reflects the increased value of mineral fuels year over year.

Trucks carried 58.5 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16.2 percent followed by pipeline, 11.0 percent; air, 4.8 percent; and vessel, 2.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.6 percent of the value of total U.S.-Canada freight flows.