NAFTA Trucking Freight Share Declined Last Year

The value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased 7.1% to $582.4 billion between 2016 and 2017, but the value of trucks’ share (58%) decreased by 2.4 percentage points, according to the U.S. Dept of Transportation.

The modal shares of rail and air also decreased, both down 0.1% percentage points. Pipeline’s share rose by 2.2 percentage points while vessel rose 0.6 points, both due in part to an increase in the year-over-year price of crude oil in 2017.

Trucks carried 50.1% of the $300 billion of goods imported from Canada in 2017, followed by rail, 20.6%; pipeline, 17.2%; vessel, 5%; and air, 3.8%. Trucks carried 65.7% of the $282.5 billion of goods exported to Canada, followed by rail, 11.5%; air, 5.6%; pipeline, 3.5%; and vessel, 2.8%.

Michigan led all U.S.-Canada Border states serving as a gateway for 38.3% of freight carried between the U.S. and Canada in 2017, handling $222.8 billion, an increase of 5.2%. Minnesota ports of entry had the largest percentage increase among northern border states, growing 20.8% over 2016.

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada in 2017 was vehicles and parts valued at $107.4 billion with $60.7 billion or 56.5% moved by truck and $43.7 billion or 40.7% moved by rail.

Overall, trucking posted the biggest loss of the five major transportation modes when it came to the value of U.S. freight moved between both NAFTA partners, Canada and Mexico last year.

Its 2.2% drop in 2017 from 2016 came as rail declined 0.2% and air fell by 0.1%.

Despite the decline, trucks continued to be the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both Canada and Mexico, carrying 63.3% of the freight transported. Trucks accounted for $720.8 billion of the $1.1 trillion in freight flows with Canada and Mexico in 2017.

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