2020 Saw A Drop In Transborder Freight Between Canada, Mexico, And The US

Bad news for companies that handle logistics and cross-border trucking like Titan Transline, a report from the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows that transborder freight dropped in 2020.

According to the USBTS, 2020 saw a 13.3% dip in transborder freight compared to 2019. The data was released on March 8, 2021, which is noted as following the freight moved by air and vessel, pipeline, truck, and rail, and notes the decline’s start at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, which continued all the way to November 2020.

The data noted that transborder freight did see a slight increase of 0.4% in December 2020.

Trucking was the preferred means of transborder shipping, accounting for 65.3% ($695bn) of 2020’s $1.06tn freight total, but even it saw a drop from 2019, having gone down by 10% compared to the preceding year.

Trucks moving across the US-Canada border moved $309bn worth of freight, accounting for 58.8% of all border freight in the north, while US-Mexico cross-border trucking accounted for $386bn of freight moved between the two countries, which is 71.1% of all border freight at the southern border.

Shipments between Canada and the US went down by 9.9%, while US-Mexico freight saw a 10.1% decline.

The busiest truck border ports in 2020 were:

  • Laredo, Texas ($163bn)
  • Detroit ($95bn)
  • Buffalo-Niagara Falls, New York ($51bn)

These three truck border ports combined accounted for 44.6% of the transborder truck freight of the entirety of 2020.

The most common truck commodities for 2020, accounting for 48.3% of the year’s total, were:

  • Computers and parts ($136bn)
  • Electrical machinery ($110bn)
  • Motor vehicles and parts ($89bn)

Trucking was the most commonly-used option for US-Canada transborder shipments for 2020, followed by rail ($79bn), pipeline ($48bn), air ($32bn), then vessel ($20bn).

Notably, the overwhelming majority (99.4%) of all the pipeline freight that moved between the US and Canada were mineral fuels, like gas and oil. Most of these travelled via the pipelines that linked Canada and Midwestern US.

US-Mexico transborder shipments were dominated by trucking ($386bn), with rail ($70bn) following at a distant second.

The data from the USBTS’s release does not have adjustments for inflation or seasonal changes.