North American freight value down 9.5 percent in December

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The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation, recently released its TransBorder Freight Data report on North American freight value from December 2015.

U.S.-NAFTA freight value in December 2015 amounted to $86.7 billion, which includes all transportation modes -- sea, air, trucks, rail and pipelines -- down 9.5 percent compared with December 2014. This was attributed to a sharp decline in crude oil prices, which weighed heavily on the value of commodities shipped.

The value of commodities overall shipped on trucks fell by 3.1 percent from December 2014 to December 2015, with air-freight value declined by 3.5 percent. Rail freight value decreased by 9.3 percent, while sea vessel freight value fell 29.9 percent. The highest decline was in pipeline freight value, which fell by 47.4 percent, and this was blamed for the other declines as well, as crude oil is used in many products.

Trucks transported 63.4 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight. Trucks are still the most-used transportation mode for U.S.-NAFTA partners. Rail is the second most-used mode, transporting 15.1 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight, while sea vessels transported 6.4 percent, air moved 4.3 percent and pipelines carried 4.7 percent.

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U.S. Department of Transportation

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