Cross-border freight experiences significant growth in February

April 26, 2024

Tyson Fisher


Continuing sustained growth, cross-border freight hauled by trucks experienced its largest increase in a year in February.

According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, truck freight valued at more than $83 billion was hauled across the borders in February. That was an increase of 5% from January and represented an increase of 10% compared to February 2023.

February’s year-to-year increase was the largest since January 2023, when cross-border freight went up by nearly 13%. Trucking freight across North America has been trending upward for more than three years, with only two decreases since November 2020: a 2% decrease in February 2021 and a 1% decrease in December 2023.

Cross-border freight hauled by trucks across the U.S. northern border rose by more than 8% compared to February 2023. At the southern border, the value of freight increased by more than 11%.

The top three truck commodities at the northern border were computers/parts ($6 billion, up 7%), vehicles/parts ($5.3 billion, up 17.5%) and electrical machinery ($2.4 billion, up 9%). At the Mexican border, top commodities included electrical machinery ($10.3 billion, up 7%), computers/parts ($9.9 billion, up 18%) and vehicles/parts ($7 billion, up 13%).

By weight, cross-border freight hauled by trucks went up by 5% compared to the previous year and increased by 1% compared to January. Year-to-year, North American truck freight by weight has increased only five times since July 2022.

Top Canadian commodities for trucking by weight included wood (up 11%), iron/steel (up 8%) and vehicles (up 12%). In Mexico, the top three commodities were edible vegetables/roots (up 5%), vehicles (up 7%) and computers/parts (up 6%).

Accounting for all modes of transportation, the total value of cross-border freight reached nearly $129 billion in February. That was an increase of 7.5% compared to the previous year and a gain of 4% compared to the previous month.

February’s year-to-year rise broke a downward trend that began in March 2023. In 2023, cross-border freight dropped in eight months, including a seven-month streak that started in March. However, the value of North American freight has increased three times in the past five months.

Canadian freight was up 4% compared to the previous year, whereas Mexican freight rose by 11%.

By weight, freight crossing the borders went up by 2% compared to February 2023 but decreased by 9% compared to January.

All modes of freight transportation except pipeline experienced a rise in freight by value in February compared to the previous year, with both air and vessel freight up 16% and rail freight up 3%. Pipeline freight dropped by 15%. LL