NAFTA Freight Posts First Hike in a Year

The total value of U.S. freight moved between Canada and Mexico during August posted its first year-over-year increase since December 2014, according to new Transportation Department figures.

The resulting 0.7% increase from August 2015 also came as just two transportation modes, truck and air, carried more cross-border freight by value.

The value of commodities moving by truck and air increased 3.4% and 4.9%, respectively, while the value of freight carried by rail fell 0.3%. Pipeline declined 4.5% and vessel dropped 12.5%. The overall value totaled $93.1 billion.

Trucks carried 65.3% of the freight moved with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico. Trucking accounted for $31.2 billion of the $49.7 billion of imports, or 62.8%, and $29.6 billion of the $43.4 billion of exports, 68.3%.

For Canada-US freight trade specifically, air, rail, and truck carried a higher value than a year earlier. However, the total value of U.S.-Canada freight fell to $47.3 billion, down 1.4% from a year earlier, due to decreases in the value of goods moved by vessel and pipeline.

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by all modes was vehicles and parts, of which $5.2 billion, or 55.1%, moved by truck and $4 billion, or 42.5%, moved by rail.

Trucks carried 59.6% of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16.5%, followed by pipeline, 9%; air, 4.7%; and vessel, 3.8%.

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