Truck freight between U.S. borders slowing down, still high

November 22, 2021

Tyson Fisher


September was a rough month for cross-border truck freight. However, the freight situation between the borders overall is a good one.

According to the latest data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, total cross-border freight value in September was more than $109 billion. That is a drop of more than 3% compared to August.

Nearly every state and top commodity experienced a decrease in North American freight, including a decline in every mode of transportation.

Cross-border truck freight decreased by nearly 3%.

Freight hauled by rail, pipeline, vessel and air also went down. This year, trucking has experienced month-to-month reductions in North American freight in February, April, May and July. Over the past 20 years, freight crossing the borders in September has been up and down, with 55% of those years experiencing a drop.

Year-to-year, the numbers look more positive. Overall, cross-border freight was up more than 13% compared to the same time last year, indicating a return to a pre-pandemic economy. Last September, the nation was in the beginning phases of recovery from the early effects of the pandemic.

Specific to trucking, cross-border freight rose more than 8% compared to last September. Only nine states reported less truck cargo coming to and from the borders in September: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Wyoming. Of the top five commodities coming in and out of the country by truck, only those hauling vehicles saw a drop compared to last September.

Freight between the borders is relatively high. Compared to September 2019, before the pandemic sank the economy, cross-border freight is up nearly 8%, erasing the damage left by the pandemic.

Trucking freight coming in and out of Canada in September dropped by 2% compared to the previous month. However, Canadian truck freight is in a better place than it was at the same time last year. Compared to last year, Canadian truck freight is up nearly 6%.

In the short term, Mexican truck freight also fell. There was 3% less truck traffic between the Mexico and U.S. borders in September compared to August. Looking at the long term, Mexican truck freight is also improving. Cargo crossing the southern borders on trucks is up 10% compared to last year. LL


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.