Cross-border freight continued to increase in July

September 23, 2020

Tyson Fisher


July was another relatively good month for cross-border freight with a second consecutive monthly increase, signaling continued economic growth.

Compared to July 2019, cross-border freight was down more than 11% after a 21% year-to-year decrease in June and a 49% decrease in May, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

July cross-border freight marks the second largest monthly increase this year, only behind June’s historic month-to-month increase.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by 11% compared with June, when cross-border freight went up by 46% compared with the previous month. April’s monthly drop of 41% is the largest on record. However, June’s increase is among the highest on record. Valued at nearly $91 billion, total July North American freight is climbing out of values last seen more than a decade ago. In May, transborder freight value was about $56 billion, the lowest since the 2009 recession.

In 2019, transborder freight decreased by 0.8% compared to the previous year, with 63% of that freight carried by trucks. This year’s historic decrease in April and May sets 2020 cross-border freight behind compared to this time last year.

July cross-border freight (trucks)
Truck cross-border freight value by state compared to June. Blue states denote an increase, while orange states denote a decrease. (Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics)

Trucks carried nearly $61 billion of the nearly $91 billion of cross-border imports and exports in July, up 7.5% from June but a decrease of 5% compared with July 2019.

Month-to-month, Canada truck freight increased by 3.2%, whereas Mexico truck freight jumped by 11%. Top truck commodities were computers and parts, motor vehicles and parts, electrical machinery, plastics, and measuring/testing instruments.

July cross-border freight totaled nearly $91 billion, up by nearly $9 billion from the previous month but a decrease of more than $11 billion from July 2019.

Pipeline freight accounted for the largest increase at 46% after increasing by 18% in June. The smallest increase by mode came from trucking, followed by air freight at nearly 10%. All five major modes experienced an increase in cross-border freight in July, just as they did in June.

More than 60% of U.S.-Canada July cross-border freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at more than 12%. Of the nearly $48 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 73% of the loads. LL


Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.