November NAFTA freight worst monthly loss in nearly one year

January 28, 2020

Tyson Fisher

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in November trucks moved more than 63% of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. November NAFTA freight suffered the worst month-to-month loss of the year.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by 7.5% compared with October, when NAFTA freight went up by 5.6% compared with the previous month. November NAFTA’s monthly decrease is the largest since December 2018, when cross-border freight went down by more than 10%.

Compared to November 2018, freight was down 3.9% after a 3.3% year-to-year decrease in October and a 0.2% decrease in September. November NAFTA’s decrease continues the first streak of year-to-year decreases since 2016. August 2016 broke a long year-to-year decline streak that began in January 2015 and lasted through July 2016.

In 2018, NAFTA freight decreased by 1% compared to the previous year, with 62% of that freight carried by trucks. November’s monthly decrease still puts cross-border freight at a 7% increase for the year so far.

November NAFTA
Truck cross-border freight value by state compared to October. Blue states denote an increase, while orange states denote a decrease. (Courtesy Bureau of Transportation Statistics)

Trucks carried nearly $63 billion of the more than $99 billion of cross-border imports and exports in November, down more than 8% from October and down more than 4% compared with November 2018.

Year-to-year, Canada truck freight decreased by nearly 2%, whereas Mexico freight decreased by 6%. Top truck commodities were computers and parts, motor vehicles and parts, electrical machinery, plastics, and measuring/testing instruments.

November NAFTA freight totaled $99 billion, down significantly by more than $8 billion from the previous month and a decrease of more than $4 billion from November 2018. This is the first time since February 2019 that NAFTA freight dipped below $100 billion, and only the third time total for the year.

Pipeline freight accounted for the largest decrease at 7.6% after a decrease of 2% in October. Vessel freight was up 4.5% after suffering from the largest decrease (9%) in October.

Nearly 58% of U.S.-Canada November NAFTA freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 15%. Of the more than $50 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried nearly 69% of the loads.

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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.