Trucks carried 72% of all US-Mexico freight in October

Trucks continue to carry the majority of cross-border imports and exports during the month of October, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

Cross-border truck freight between the U.S., Canada and Mexico totaled $68.2 billion, or 64% of all cross-border freight during October, down 3.3% compared to October 2018.

Along the U.S.-Mexico border, trucks carried 72% of all freight, moving loads valued at $38.2 billion in October 2019, compared to $39.4 billion during the same period in 2018, a decline of almost 3%.

It represented only the second time in 12 months that freight volumes between the U.S. and Mexico decreased.

In June 2019, cross-border freight declined 1% compared to the same period in 2018. Some of the decline in freight volumes can be attributed to border wait times rising in April and May when President Trump threatened tariffs against Mexico on immigration issues.

Truck freight between the U.S. and Canada totaled $30 billion in October, down 2.5% compared to the same period in 2018.

In October 2019, the three busiest truck ports for cross-border freight continued to be Laredo ($15.6 billion), Detroit ($9.4 billion) and El Paso ($6.1 billion), accounting for 45.6% of total cross-border truck freight.

Mexico was the U.S.’s top trading partner from the beginning of the year through the month of October, accounting for $517.7 billion, according to WorldCity’s analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.

The top three truck commodities during October were computers and parts ($13.3 billion); electrical machinery ($11.6 billion) and motor vehicles and parts ($10.1 billion).

Port Laredo trade totaled $19.79 billion for the month of October, and $195.6 billion through October 2019, according to WorldCity. Laredo’s trade with the world fell 1.17% for the first 10 months of the year, compared to 2018.

The El Paso border crossing’s trade totaled $7.23 billion for the month of October, and $66.64 billion through October 2019. El Paso’s trade with the world declined 3.95% for the first 10 months of the year, compared to 2018.

Port Laredo ranked number two in the country in total trade, with El Paso ranking fifth. The Port of Los Angeles remains the top port for total trade among the nation’s roughly 450 airports, seaports and border crossings through October 2019.

Rail freight accounted for $14.5 billion in value, with $7.9 billion on the Canadian border and $6.6 billion on the Mexican border. The three busiest rail border ports were Laredo ($3.7 billion); Detroit ($2.1 billion); and Port Huron, Michigan ($2 billion).

Maritime import shipments from Mexico to the United States peaked around March and again in August, according to FreightWaves SONAR ticker MCSTM.MEXUSA

Maritime freight between the U.S. and Mexico was $5.1 billion for October, compared to $6.3 billion in October 2018.

With Mexico as a gateway to the U.S. for businesses from other countries, many countries rushed to ship freight ahead of a March 1, 2019 tariff deadline imposed by President Trump on more than $200 billion in Chinese imports.

Mexico captured around $27 billion of new business with the U.S., which represents about 6% of the country’s total exports, according to a report from Michael Angell, FreightWaves bulk and intermodal editor.