U.S. Canada Freight Movements Post Steep Drop

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The value of freight moving between Canada and the U.S. posted a steep decline in June, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Transportation Department.

It fell 10.3 percent from June 2014, totaling US$52 billion, as all modes of transportation carried a lower value of U.S.-Canada freight than a year earlier.

A possible recession in Canada got the blame from the department for the decrease in freight flows.

The decline in overall U.S. imports and exports with Canada were each down 10.3 percent from a year earlier as well.

U.S. truck freight imports from Canada by value did show a 7.9 percent increase over the past year but U.S. truck exports to Canada by value fell 6.1 percent during the same time. This led to total a total decline of 0.2 percent in U.S.-Canada freight flows by value for the month.

During June the top commodity category for all modes transported between the U.S. and Canada was vehicles and parts, of which US$5.8 billion, or 60.8 percent, moved by truck and US$3.5 billion, or 36.6 percent, moved by rail. Vehicles and parts replaced mineral fuels as the top commodity in March 2015 and continued to be the top commodity for a fourth straight month.

There were bigger overall reductions in the value of freight movements in other transportation modes between the U.S. and Canada for the month, including an 11.7 percent drop in rail freight, vessel down 21.7 percent and pipeline down a whopping 41 percent from a year earlier.

Trucks carried 59.7 percent of the freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 15.2 percent; pipeline, 8.8 percent; vessel, 5.4 percent; and air, 4.3 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.7 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

Also, in contrast to freight movements between the U.S. and Canada, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight totaled US$47.1 billion in June, up 4.4 percent from June 2014, as three out of five transportation modes – truck, rail and air – carried more U.S.-Mexico freight than a year earlier.

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