NAFTA freight up 13% year-to-date, down from August 2018

October 24, 2019

Tyson Fisher


The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in August trucks moved 63% of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. NAFTA freight value is up for the year so far, but down compared to this time last year.

The value of freight hauled across the borders increased by 2.6% compared with July, when freight decreased by 1.3% from the previous month.

Compared to August 2018, freight was down 1.7% after a 1.2% increase in July and a 2.3% decrease in June. December’s decrease broke a 25-month streak of year-to-year increases. The last year-to-year decrease before that occurred in October 2016. Since December, there have been three year-to-year decreases.

In 2018, NAFTA freight increased by 1% compared to the previous year, with 63% of that freight carried by trucks. August’s monthly increase puts NAFTA at a 13% increase for the year so far.

August NAFTA truck freight
Truck NAFTA value by state compared to July. Blue states denote an increase, while orange states denote a decrease. (Courtesy Bureau of Transportation Statistics)

Trucks carried more than $66 billion of the more than $105 billion of NAFTA imports and exports in August, up 3.5% from July but down 0.8% compared with August 2018.

Year-to-year, Canada truck freight decreased by 2.5%, whereas Mexico freight decreased by 0.8%. Top truck commodities were computers and parts, motor vehicles and parts, electrical machinery, plastics, and measuring/testing instruments.

Freight totaled $105.1 billion, up nearly $3 billion from the previous month but a decrease of nearly $2 billion from August 2018. This is the highest NAFTA value in 2019 since May, when NAFTA freight reached a yearly high of nearly $110 billion.

Pipeline freight accounted for the largest decrease, at 12.5% after an increase of 4.3% in July. Vessel freight had the second highest decrease at 11.5%, followed by truck freight. Air freight experienced the highest increase for the second consecutive month at 5.2%.

Approximately 55% of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16%. Of the more than $53 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 70% of the loads.


Tyson Fisher

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.