North American Transborder Freight Data

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November 2015 North American Freight Numbers

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Figure 1.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight
Flows by Mode: November 2014 - 2015

Table Version | Excel

Figure 1.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: November 2014 - 2015

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics,

The value of U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $88.2 billion in November 2015 as all modes of transportation carried a lower total value of freight than a year earlier, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Figure 1, Table 1). Canada regained its historical rank as top North America trade partner after falling behind Mexico in total trade value for the first time in October. Large decreases in the value of commodities moved by pipeline and vessel in November were due to the reduced unit price of crude oil.

Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows by all modes declined by 8.4 percent.

Freight by Mode

In November 2015 compared to November 2014, the value of commodities moving by truck decreased by 0.4 percent, while the value of air freight decreased by 7.3 percent and rail by 9.8 percent (Figure 1, Table 2). Vessel freight value decreased 42.6 percent and pipeline freight decreased 43.2 percent mainly due to the lower unit price of crude oil, which comprises a large share of the commodities carried by these modes. Average monthly prices for crude petroleum and refined fuel are available from the

Trucks carried 66.2 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight and continue to be the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $30.0 billion of the $46.8 billion of imports (64.1 percent) and $28.3 billion of the $41.3 billion of exports (68.5 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.1 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 5.4 percent; pipeline, 4.2 percent; and air, 3.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.5 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows (Table 2).

U.S.-Canada Freight

Figure 2.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight
Flows by Mode: November 2014 - 2015

Table Version | Excel

Figure 2.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode: November 2014 - 2015

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics,

The value of U.S.-Canada freight totaled $45.1 billion in November 2015, down 13.8 percent from November 2014, as all modes of transportation carried a lower value of U.S.-Canada freight than a year earlier.

Lower crude oil prices contributed to a year-over-year decrease in the value of freight moved between the U.S. and Canada. Crude oil is a large share of freight carried by vessel and pipeline, which were down 46.1 percent and 43.5 percent respectively year-over-year (Figure 2, Table 3).

Trucks carried 60.4 percent of the $45.1 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 16.3 percent; pipeline, 7.7 percent; air, 4.6 percent; and vessel, 3.6 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.4 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 3).

U.S.-Mexico Freight

Figure 3. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode: November 2014 - 2015

Table Version | Excel

Figure 3. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode: November 2014 - 2015

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics,

The value of U.S.-Mexico freight totaled $43.0 billion in November 2015, down 1.9 percent from November 2014, as two out of the five transportation modes – air and truck – carried more U.S.-Mexico freight value than in November 2014. Freight carried by truck increased by 4.9 percent, led by shipments of electrical machinery, which were up 10.5 percent. Air freight value rose 2.7 percent while rail freight value declined 4.3 percent. Pipeline freight value decreased by 37.5 percent and vessel freight value decreased by 40.7 percent mainly due to lower crude oil prices (Figure 3, Table 4).

Trucks carried 72.3 percent of the $43.0 billion of the value of freight transported to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 13.8 percent; vessel, 7.4 percent; air, 2.9 percent; and pipeline, 0.6 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 86.7 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 4).

Commodities

In November 2015, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by all modes was vehicles and parts, of which $5.4 billion, or 59.0 percent, moved by truck and $3.6 billion, or 38.7 percent, moved by rail (Figure 4). The top commodity category for all modes transported between the U.S. and Mexico in November 2015 was electrical machinery, of which $8.3 billion, or 92.3 percent, moved by truck and $0.4 billion, or 4.9 percent, moved by air (Figure 5).

Reporting Notes

BTS press releases and the BTS website define surface transportation modes as truck, rail and pipeline. See on the BTS website for additional data for surface modes since 1995 and all modes since 2004. The category of all modes of transportation cited in the following tables includes freight movements by truck, rail, vessel, pipeline, air, and unknown modes of transport.

Data in this press release are not seasonally adjusted and are not adjusted for inflation. Additional summary data adjusted for inflation and exchange rates can be found on the BTS website under . The BLS indexes used in the adjustments for inflation and exchange rates may be revised in each of the three months after original publication. For more information, see TransBorder Press Releases for previous press releases and summary tables. See for data from previous months, and more state, port, or commodity data. BTS has scheduled the release of December TransBorder numbers for Feb. 25.

Table 1. Value of Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows

(millions of current dollars)

Month 2013 2014 2015 Percent Change 2013-2014 Percent Change 2014-2015
January 90,766 90,326 89,258 -0.5 -1.2
February 88,894 89,557 85,723 0.7 -4.3
March 95,757 101,478 96,070 6.0 -5.3
April 98,956 100,141 93,327 1.2 -6.8
May 98,742 103,942 92,707 5.3 -10.8
June 93,502 102,978 99,030 10.1 -3.8
July 93,080 101,075 92,995 8.6 -8.0
August 96,426 100,624 92,442 4.4 -8.1
September 94,465 102,245 93,246 8.2 -8.8
October 103,140 108,243 96,624 4.9 -10.7
November 96,136 96,252 88,154 0.1 -8.4
December 90,906 95,811   5.4  
Year-to-date 1,049,864 1,096,861 1,019,577 4.5 -7.0
Annual 1,140,770 1,192,671   4.5  

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

Note: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 2. Value of Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   November 2014 November 2015 Percent Change November 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 50,949 46,834 -8.1
Exports 45,303 41,319 -8.8
Total 96,252 88,154 -8.4
All Surface Modes Imports 43,529 41,952 -3.6
Exports 36,332 33,420 -8.0
Total 79,861 75,372 -5.6
Truck Imports 28,680 30,030 4.7
Exports 29,887 28,319 -5.2
Total 58,567 58,349 -0.4
Rail Imports 9,483 8,918 -6.0
Exports 5,251 4,378 -16.6
Total 14,734 13,296 -9.8
Pipeline Imports 5,366 3,004 -44.0
Exports 1,194 723 -39.4
Total 6,560 3,727 -43.2
Vessel Imports 4,547 2,309 -49.2
Exports 3,807 2,484 -34.8
Total 8,354 4,793 -42.6
Air Imports 1,438 1,346 -6.4
Exports 2,137 1,969 -7.9
Total 3,575 3,315 -7.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

Notes: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation. For additional detail, please refer to the “Data Fields” section of the TransBorder web page: .

Table 3. Value of Monthly U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   November 2014 November 2015 Percent Change November 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 26,778 22,728 -15.1
Exports 25,580 22,383 -12.5
Total 52,358 45,111 -13.8
All Surface Modes Imports 23,229 20,364 -12.3
Exports 20,365 17,701 -13.1
Total 43,594 38,065 -12.7
Truck Imports 12,024 12,134 0.9
Exports 16,878 15,095 -10.6
Total 28,902 27,229 -5.8
Rail Imports 5,854 5,242 -10.5
Exports 2,665 2,108 -20.9
Total 8,519 7,350 -13.7
Pipeline Imports 5,351 2,988 -44.2
Exports 822 498 -39.4
Total 6,173 3,486 -43.5
Vessel Imports 1,565 806 -48.5
Exports 1,445 816 -43.5
Total 3,010 1,622 -46.1
Air Imports 941 827 -12.1
Exports 1,415 1,234 -12.8
Total 2,356 2,061 -12.5

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

Notes: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation. For additional detail, please refer to the “Data Fields” section of the TransBorder web page: .

Figure 4. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, November 2015

Table Version | Excel

Figure 4. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, November 2015

Table 4. Value of Monthly U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   November 2014 November 2015 Percent Change November 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 24,171 24,106 -0.3
Exports 19,722 18,937 -4.0
Total 43,893 43,043 -1.9
All Surface Modes Imports 20,300 21,589 6.3
Exports 15,966 15,720 -1.5
Total 36,266 37,309 2.9
Truck Imports 16,656 17,897 7.5
Exports 13,009 13,224 1.7
Total 29,665 31,121 4.9
Rail Imports 3,629 3,676 1.3
Exports 2,585 2,270 -12.2
Total 6,214 5,946 -4.3
Pipeline Imports 15 16 6.7
Exports 372 226 -39.2
Total 387 242 -37.5
Vessel Imports 2,981 1,502 -49.6
Exports 2,362 1,668 -29.4
Total 5,343 3,170 -40.7
Air Imports 497 518 4.2
Exports 722 734 1.7
Total 1,219 1,252 2.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

Notes: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation. For additional detail, please refer to the “Data Fields” section of the TransBorder web page: .

Figure 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, November 2015

Table Version | Excel

Figure 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, November 2015

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