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Cross-Border U.S.-Canada Freight Increases Again

Comparing September 2016 to September 2017, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 5% to $48.5 billion as the value of freight on four major modes increased from a year earlier, according to new Transportation Department figures.

The value of freight carried on vessel increased by 52.4% due in part to an increase in the unit value and a 23.9% increase in the volume of mineral fuels traded, according to the report. Pipeline increased by 11.1%, truck by 3.1%, and rail by 2.4%. Air decreased by 5%.

Trucks carried 58.6% of the value of the freight to and from Canada. Rail carried 16% followed by pipeline, 9.5%; air, 4.6%; and vessel, 4.3%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.1% of the value of total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

In September 2017, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was vehicles and parts, of which $5.2 billion, or 57.1%, moved by truck and $3.6 billion, or 40.3% by rail.

Overall, value of freight moved between the U.S. and both North American Free Trade Agreement partners increased for the 11th straight month during September. The 3.6% overall rise from the same time a year ago came as three of the five major transportation modes carried more freight by value between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Trucks carried 64.3% of U.S.-NAFTA freight and continued to be the most utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $31 billion of the $50.2 billion of imports, or 61.8%, and $29.7 billion of the $44.2 billion of exports, or 67.2%.

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