North American freight value climbs from 2016 to 2017

The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that the value of U.S.-North American freight has grown consistently in 2017 compared to 2016. For the first eight months of 2017, the value of freight moved between the U.S. and Canada combined with the value of U.S.-Mexico freight is up 6.2 percent compared to 2016 with an increase in every month from a year earlier.

The growth has been driven by rising commodity prices, particularly the petroleum products that predominate in the freight moved by pipeline and vessel. Over these eight months, the growth by mode from 2016 was pipeline 44.2 percent, vessel 25.7 percent, rail 7.0 percent, air 5.6 percent, truck 1.7 percent.

According to the BTS American freight movement is dominated by truck shipments, which in the first eight months of 2017 carried 63.4 percent of the total freight value – 58.0 percent to and from Canada, 69.1 percent to and from Mexico. The top three commodities carried on trucks are computer related machinery, electrical machinery, and vehicles. The three commodities combined account for just under 50 percent of the value of all goods hauled by truck across the U.S.-Canadian and U.S.-Mexican borders.

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