Trucking freight crossing the borders near all-time high

January 10, 2022

Tyson Fisher

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North American freight reached an all-time high in value in November, with cross-border trucking freight posting an eight-month growth streak.

Year to year, the value of North American freight moved by trucks increased by 17% to $73.5 billion. That marks the eighth consecutive yearly increase, and the 12th increase in 13 months. Cross-border truck freight experienced a slight drop in February 2021, putting a break in what would otherwise be a 13-month streak, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Compared to October, the value of trucking freight crossing the borders dropped slightly by 0.5%. Since October 2020, North American freight moved by trucks has been an up and down rollercoaster ride month to month.

Consistent yearly growth and volatile monthly fluctuations suggest a rebound from economic disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Compared to February 2020, North American freight value by truck is up 21% after falling as much as 37% in April 2020.

November’s truck value falls just short of the $73.9 billion record set last March.

By weight, trucks carried 10.2 million metric tons of freight in November, a 13% increase from the previous year, and a 2.5% decrease compared to October. Although short of the 11.3 million metric ton record set in August, the weight of North American freight moved by trucks is still up compared to previous years.

Top trucking commodities by value include computer-related machinery, electrical machinery, vehicles, plastics/articles and measuring/testing instruments, all of which are down compared to October but up compared to November 2020.

By weight, top commodities are salt/sulfur/plaster/cement, vehicles, edible vegetables/roots, wood/articles, iron/steel and computer-related machinery. All of those commodities are up by weight over 12 months. Compared to October, all are down except for edible vegetables/roots and wood/articles.

Truck freight moving through the northern border in November is up 20% by value year to year and increased by less than 1% from the previous month. By weight, Canadian truck freight is up 6% from November 2020 but down 0.4% month to month.

North American freight moving in and out of Mexico by trucks is up 15% by value from November 2020 but down 1% from the previous 30 days. The story is similar when accounting for southern truck freight by weight.

Accounting for all North American freight, the value reached a record high of $120.1 billion in November. By weight, the 51.1 million metric tons of cross-border freight across all modes is near the record high of 51.8 million metric tons.

All modes carried more North American freight in November compared to the previous year. Pipeline freight skyrocketed by 124% with vessel freight jumping 73%. All modes except pipeline and vessel are down in the short term. LL

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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.