Cross-border freight down year-to-year first time in two years

May 26, 2023

Tyson Fisher


Across all modes of transportation, cross-border freight went down for the first time in two years. However, freight hauled by trucks increased in March compared to the previous year and remains up compared to the previous month.

According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, truck freight valued at more than $90 billion was hauled across the borders in March. That is an increase of nearly 19% from February and an increase of more than 5% compared to March 2022.

The last time trucking cross-border freight experienced a year-to-year decrease was in February 2021. Since then, it has been a two-year streak of increases.

Cross-border freight hauled by trucks across the U.S. northern border rose by more than 2% compared to March 2022. At the southern border, the value of freight increased by nearly 8%.

The top three truck commodities at the northern border were computers/parts ($6.7 billion), vehicles/parts ($5.4 billion) and electrical machinery ($2.6 billion). At the Mexican border, top commodities included electrical machinery ($11.3 billion), computers/parts ($10 billion) and vehicles/parts ($7.4 billion).

cross-border freight (trucks only)
Truck cross-border freight value by state compared to March 2022. Blue states denote an increase, while orange states denote a decrease. (Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics)

By weight, trucking cross-border freight went down more than 15% compared to the previous year.

Accounting for all modes of transportation, the total value of cross-border freight reached more than $141 billion in March. That is a decrease of less than 1% compared to the previous year but an increase of 18% compared to the previous month.

The last time overall cross-border freight had a year-to-year decline was in February 2021.

Canadian freight is down nearly 5% compared to the previous year, whereas Mexican freight increased by nearly 5%.

By weight, freight crossing the borders went down by more than 4% compared to last March but increased by nearly 13% compared to February.

Four of five modes showed a decrease in freight value in March when compared to the previous year. Pipeline freight notched the largest decrease (minus 17.6%), followed by vessel (minus 9.8%), rail (minus 7.9%) and airfreight (minus 7.9%). Trucking experienced the only monthly incline. LL