Truck NAFTA freight experienced a boost in February

April 25, 2018

Tyson Fisher


The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in February trucks moved more than 63 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. Three of five modes experienced an increase in freight year to year.

The value of freight hauled across the borders dropped 2.8 percent compared with January, when freight rose by more than 3 percent from the previous month. Compared to February 2017, freight was up nearly 9 percent. This marks the 16th consecutive month of year-to-year increases.

March 2017 had the largest month-to-month increase (16 percent) since March 2011, when NAFTA freight was up more than 22 percent compared to February 2011. NAFTA freight declined by nearly 11 percent in July 2017, the largest decline for the year.

In March 2017, the index reached more than $100 billion for the first time since October 2014 before going back below that mark in April. That landmark was revisited in October and maintained through November before dipping below the $100 billion mark again in December.

August, November and December were the only months to have a year-to-year increase in 2016, at 0.7 percent, 3.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. August was the first year-to-year increase since December 2014, when freight increased by more than 5 percent.

Trucks carried nearly $60 billion of the $94 billion of imports and exports in February. Year-to-year, Canada truck freight increased by 6.2 percent and Mexico freight rose by 11.2 percent. Top truck commodities were computers and parts, motor vehicles and parts, electrical machinery, plastics, and measuring/testing instruments.

Freight totaled $93.966 billion, down nearly $3 billion from the previous month and an increase of more than $7 billion from February 2017.

Vessel freight accounted for the largest increase at 45 percent after an increase of 10 percent in January. Trucks accounted for an increase of 9 percent. Truck freight experienced increases of 10.2 in January and 5.4 percent in December.

More than 57 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at more than 16 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by 11 percent compared with February 2017. Of the $46.513 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 69 percent of the loads.