Cross-Border Freight Starts Off Slow In 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on the global economy, even for logistics firms like Titan Transline, in spite of the greater need for their services.

Cross-border freight started off weak in 2021 following monthly and yearly declines going out of 2020, but the drops were mitigated somewhat by strong performance from the trucking sector.

Compared to January 2020, cross-border freight went down by close to 3% following a 0.4% uptick in December, and a 3.2% increase in November, according to data from the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics. December’s year-to-year increase was the first in 2020 since February, just before the US implemented lockdowns in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The value of freight going through national borders dropped by 3% in January 2021 compared to December 2020, which saw cross-border freight go up by close to 1% compared to the prior month. Since 2017, cross-border freight has always seen a monthly increase in January. Year-to-year, January freight has fluctuated between increases and decreases, with no clear pattern.

In spite of the drops, trucking has done pretty well, relatively speaking, which is good for firms like Titan Transline and their truckers. Trucks ended carrying more than $61bn of the $94bn of cross-border freight and exports in the US in January. That being said, that is still a 1% decrease from December 2020, and an increase of less than 1% from January 2020.

On a monthly basis, Canada truck freight dropped by nearly 4%, while Mexico saw its truck freight dropping by more than 1%. The top truck commodities are computers and related parts, motor vehicles, and related parts, plastics, electrical machinery, as well as measuring and testing instruments.

January’s cross-border freight amounted to a total of more than $94bn, which is a more than $2bn drop from December 2020, and a nearly $3bn from January 2020.

All transport modes saw a drop except for truck freight, with airfreight being hit the hardest, with a drop of more than 20%, followed by vessel freight, which dropped by more than 8%.

Of all the freight the US-Canada border, more than 58% of it was carried trucks, followed by 16%. Meanwhile, of the $48bn that moved in and out of Mexico, 71% was moved by trucks.



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