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US Cross-Border Freight Normalizes In November 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic hit a lot of industries across the world hard, and, in spite of the increased demand for logistics due to the e-commerce boom, the US’s trucking industry also hit a rough patch. Companies like Titan Transline have been forced to make some serious changes to keep up, but recovery doesn’t look too far off.

Data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows that the country’s cross-border increase streak ended in 2020 thanks to the pandemic, bringing numbers closer to what they were before the COVID-19 outbreak hit.

According to the BTS’s data, US cross-border freight in November 2020 went down by 3.2% compared to the same month in the prior year. This followed a similar 4.7% drop in October and a 4.9% decrease in September.

This resulted in the numbers getting closer to what they were before the pandemic, as well as the lowest-year-to-year drops since the North American freight industry got hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in March, which is a good sign for the industry as it adapts to the changes the pandemic brought about.

Freight across national borders in North America dropped by at least 6% in November, compared with October, which saw a 6% monthly increase. April 2020 saw the biggest monthly drop in the industry’s history, with a 41% decline. Notably, in June 2020, the industry saw a monthly increase of 46%, one of the highest in record.

The 3.5% drop in November is the first time in May when the North American freight industry saw a decline. Historically, cross-border freight sees a seasonal dip around the month of November. Decreases in the prior years have generally been bigger, around the 7-8%, making this drop smaller in comparison.

For the year 2019, cross-border freight in North America saw a 0.8% drop compared to 2018, with 63% of all of that moved around by trucks. Out of $96bn of freight that was transported in the month of November, trucks transported $63bn of all of that, which a 7.5% drop from October, but a >1% compared with November 2019.

Monthly, Canada truck freight saw a drop of 5%, while Mexico saw a drop of 9%. The top commodities that were transported were computers and relevant parts, motor vehicles and parts, as well plastics, electrical components, and measuring instruments.