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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BTS: U.S.-NAFTA freight-by-rail movement rose in July


All transportation modes except rail carried less cross-border freight by value in July compared with the same period last year, which resulted in a 10 percent decrease to $83.7 billion in the total current dollar value of freight moved, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

July 2016 was the 19th consecutive month that the total value of U.S. freight with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico declined from the same month the previous year, according to BTS' TransBorder Freight Data.

The amount of July 2016 cross-border freight also is the lowest monthly amount since February 2011, which had $76.7 billion in cross-border freight, according to a BTS press release.

Rail was the only transportation mode that marked an increase in the value of commodities moved for July. Rail's 0.9 percent increase was attributed in part to a 14 percent year-over-year increase in the value of vehicles and parts traded with Mexico, BTS officials said.

Rail is the second largest mode by value, moving 15.4 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight. The largest is trucks, which carried 64.7 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight.

From July 2015 to July 2016, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows dropped 10.7 percent to $42.4 billion as all modes of transportation carried a lower value of U.S.-Canada freight than a year earlier.

Lower crude oil prices contributed to a year-over-year decrease in the value of freight moved between the United States and Canada. Crude oil is a large share of freight carried by pipeline and vessel, which were down 28 percent and 37.1 percent respectively year over year.

Rail carried 15.7 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada year over year.

Meanwhile, from July 2015 to July 2016 the value of U.S.-Mexico freight fell 9.2 percent to $41.3 billion. U.S.-Mexico freight carried by rail rose 4.2 percent, however. All other transportation modes reflected decreases.

Rail carried 15.1 percent of the value of freight to and from Mexico during the period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/26/2016