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Trucks most utilized mode in NAFTA trade in 2017, carrying 63.3%, BTS reports

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Trucks accounted for $720.8 billion of the $1.1 trillion in freight with Canada and Mexico, BTS reported. (The Trucker file photo)

All five of the U.S. major transportation modes carried more freight by value in trade with NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico in 2017 than in 2016, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported Friday.

Trucks continued to be the most utilized mode of moving cargo into and out of Canada and Mexico, carrying 63.3 percent of the freight transported.

In fact, trucks accounted for $720.8 billion of the $1.1 trillion in freight with Canada and Mexico, BTS reported.

A 17.3 percent increase in the year-over-year price of crude oil in 2017 played a key role in the annual increases in the dollar value of goods shipped by pipeline, up 31.3 percent, and vessel, up 29.6 percent.

As a result, the share of freight moved by other modes decreased: air by 0.1 percent; rail by 0.2 percent and truck by 2.2 percent.

Trucks carried 60.2 percent of the $614.0 billion of goods imported from Canada and Mexico in 2017 at 18.5 percent; pipeline at 8.4 percent; vessel by 6.4 percent and air, 3.1 percent.

The value of U.S.-Canada freight flows increased by 7.1 percent to $582.4 billion, with trucks carrying 57.7 percent.

And although trucks carried the largest share of U.S.-Canada freight by value in 2017, its share of the total decreased by 2.4 percentage points, BTS noted.

Trucks hauled 50.1 percent of the $300 billion in goods imported from Canada in 2017, followed by rail at 20.6 percent; pipeline at 17.2 percent; vessel at 5.0 percent and air at 3.8 percent.

The top category of freight transported between the U.S. and Canada in 2017 was vehicle parts worth $107.4 billion. BTS said $60.7 billion or 56.7 percent, moved by truck and $43.7 billion or 40.7 percent moved by rail.

In trade with Mexico, the value of goods transported increased 6.1 percent to $557 billion, with trucks carrying 69.1 percent followed by rail at 14.4 percent; vessel, 9.5 percent; air, 3 percent and pipeline .7 percent.

Trucks carried the largest share of U.S.-Mexico freight in 2017 at 69.1 percent, although year-over-year, that was down 1.9 percent from 2016.

Trucks carried 69.9 percent of the $314 billion in goods imported from Mexico in 2017, followed by rail at 16.5 percent; vessel at 7.8 percent; air at 2.4 percent and pipeline at 0.1 percent.

In goods exported to Mexico in 2017, trucks carried 68 percent of the total $243 billion, followed by vessel, 11.6 percent; rail, 11.5 percent; air, 3.8 percent; and pipeline, 1.4 percent.

The top commodity hauled between the U.S. and Mexico last year was vehicles and parts totaling $104.8 billion, with $48.9 billion or 46.7 percent moved by truck and $44.7 billion or 42.7 percent moved by rail.

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ATA For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index surges 7.4% in April

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Compared with April 2018, the SA index increased 7.7%, the largest year-over-year gain since July. (The Trucker file photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. — American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index surged 7.4% in April after decreasing 2% in March. In April, the index equaled 121.8 (2015=100) compared with 113.4 in March.

“The surge in truck tonnage in April is obviously good for trucking, but it is important to examine it in the context of the broader economy,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “February and March were particularly weak months, as evidenced by the 3.5% dip in tonnage due to weather and other factors, so some of the gain was a catch-up effect. In addition, the Easter holiday was later than usual, likely pushing freight that would ordinarily be moved in March into April.

“I do not think the fundamentals underlying truck tonnage are as strong as April’s figure would indicate, but this may signal that any fears of a looming freight recession may have been overblown,” he said.

March’s reading was revised up compared with our April press release.

Compared with April 2018, the SA index increased 7.7%, the largest year-over-year gain since July.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 117.7 in April, 1% above March level (116.6). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.

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ACT says trailer order volume soft in second straight month

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This chart compares trailer order volume for three years. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — ACT Research’s preliminary estimate for April 2019 net trailer orders is 14,500 units.

Final volume will be available later this month. ACT’s methodology allows the company to generate a preliminary estimate of the market that should be within +/- 3% of the final order tally.

“Order volume was soft in April for the second straight month. Several factors appear to be in play. OEMs continue to be reticent to fully open 2020 orderboards. This is evident in our measurement of the extent of the industry’s backlog, which has remained in the November or December timeframe throughout the first four months of 2019,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV transportation analysis and research. “While we hear comments of some fleets anxiously awaiting the chance to snap up 2020 build slots, some also appear to be evaluating their existing commitments. Cancellations in April were the highest since August 2016 on both a unit and percent of backlog basis, and have remained elevated since December. That resulted in an interesting dichotomy in April orders; while new orders were actually up versus March, cancellations were significant enough to pull the net order number into the red month-over-month.”

Maly said while down slightly from March, production continues at a brisk pace, although material/component availability and staffing continue to challenge OEMs. Seasonal patterns actually called for a slight increase for April production, so that small sequential decline likely confirms the impact of the aforementioned headwinds.

“Additionally, our discussions indicate that red-tagged units continue to challenge OEM production efficiency,” he said.

ACT Research is a publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American and China markets.

ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies.

More information can be found at .

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Price of diesel inches up three-tenths of a penny

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Overall, the price for the week ending was down 11.4 cents a gallon lower than last year.

WASHINGTON — The average on-highway price of a gallon of diesel increased three-tenths of one cent to $3.163 for the week ending May 20, according to the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy.

The increase was precipitated by a 1.1-cent increase in the Rocky Mountain states (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana) and a 1-center increase in the Central Atlantic states (New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland).

The largest decrease was five-tenths of a penny in the Lower Atlantic states (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia).

Two regions remained the same as last week.

Overall, the price is down 11.4 cents a gallon lower than last year.

 

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