Cross-border truck freight reaches record high last year

February 24, 2022

Tyson Fisher


Truck freight crossing the Mexico and Canada borders with the U.S. reached an all-time high last year, as did cross-border freight in general.

In 2021, trucks carried nearly $828 billion worth of freight across the borders, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That is a 19% increase from 2020, and the highest full-year value on record. Last year’s significant increase makes up for the 10% decrease in value experienced in 2020, largely due to the pandemic.

With the U.S. economy making a significant rebound from the effects of the pandemic, it is not surprising that the numbers are up across all categories. The only state that did not experience an increase in cross-border truck freight was Delaware, with a nearly 3% decrease.

The value of all top truck commodities increased, including computer-related machinery/parts, electrical machinery, vehicles, plastics/articles and measuring/testing instruments. Trucks hauling iron and steel experienced the largest growth in value at 33%, followed by plastics/articles (25%).

Canadian truck freight reached a value of nearly $370 billion last year, a 19% increase. Mexican truck freight increased by nearly 20% to more than $460 billion. Only five states experienced a drop in Mexican freight: Idaho (minus 5%), New York (minus 5%), North Dakota (minus 5%), Rhode Island (minus 5%) and Wyoming (minus 3%).

Accounting for all modes of transportation, cross-border freight reached a record high value of more than $1.3 trillion in 2021, a 25% increase from 2020. North American freight value dropped by more than 13% in 2020.

All cross-border freight value went up across the board, with every state experiencing an increase. Among top commodities, the biggest increases were in iron/steel (89%) and mineral fuels – oils and waxes (68%). Pipeline was the transport mode with the largest increase in freight value at 85%, followed by vessel (42%).

For the month of December alone, cross-border truck freight increased by 15% compared with December 2020.

Canadian freight went up 16%. Mexican freight increased by 15%. Only four states experienced a decrease in cross-border truck freight in December: Idaho (minus 11%), Nevada (minus 5%), New Hampshire (minus 11%) and West Virginia (minus 11%).

However, cross-border truck freight by value in December dropped by 5% compared with the previous month. Canadian freight hauled by trucks was down 6%. Mexican freight decreased by 4%. All top commodities except for fruits, nuts and vegetables experienced less freight.

All cross-border freight in December increased by 21.5% compared with December 2020, but dropped by 2% compared with November. Cross-border truck freight experienced the largest monthly decline, followed by vessel (minus 3%) and rail (minus 1%). 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.