NAFTA freight holds strong in November; truck freight still improving

January 25, 2018

Tyson Fisher


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

The value of freight hauled across the borders was essentially unchanged compared with October, when freight was up nearly more than 7 percent from the previous month. March 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.

Compared to November 2016, freight was up 10.5 percent. This marks the 13th consecutive month of year-to-year increases. Nine of 12 months experienced a loss compared to the previous year in 2016.

November’s rise was the second largest year-to-year increase this year, following behind March at 10.9 percent. In March, 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.

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 more than $63 billion of the $100.61 billion of imports and exports in November. Rail came in second with nearly $15 billion.

Freight totaled $100.613 billion, up more than $50 million from the previous month and an increase of more than $9.5 billion from November 2016.

Vessel freight accounted for the largest increase at 46 percent after an increase of 32.6 percent in October. Trucks accounted for an increase of 8.1 percent. Truck freight experienced modest increases of 5.7 in October and 2.9 percent in September.

Nearly 58 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16 percent. U.S.-Mexico freight went up by nearly 10 percent compared with November 2016. Of the $49.3 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 69 percent of the loads.