Binational commerce between the two NAFTA partners is on the rise, as is the value of goods trucked across the US-Mexico border.

Quantity vs. Quality

According to trade data, the number of trucks crossing the border and the value of the freight those trucks carry generally move in tandem. Yet recent data reflects that, as international trucking volumes rise between the two NAFTA countries, the value of goods trucked across US-Mexico border is rising at an even faster rate. According to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, both trucking and freight value are climbing rapidly. However, the gap between value and quantity is widening. The governmental transportation agency’s statistics reveal that, although the number of trucks crossing the border rose at a 2.9% clip in the first quarter of 2015, the value of the goods carried by those commercial conveyances rose by a higher rate of 9% during the same period.

Transplace de Mexico is a logistics company that has seen this new trend in action. In a recent issue of the Journal of Commerce, the company’s managing director, Troy Ryley, had this to say about what is driving the value of goods trucked across the US-Mexico border up:

“There is more complex manufacturing taking place and more goods coming from Mexico than what we’ve seen in previous years….We’re seeing a shift to higher end, higher cost merchandise, with the big drivers being second and third tier automotive providers, electronics manufacturers, and the aerospace industry.”

By the Numbers

2014 saw an increase over 2013 in freight moved between NAFTA countries of approximately 4.5%. Freight that moved between two of the trade partners, the US and Mexico, rose by 5.5% in the same time span. The total value of freight moved between these two countries in 2014 reached nearly $535 billion. Of this total, three hundred and sixty-three billion dollars was the figure that comprised the value of goods trucked across the US-Mexico border during the last year.

This increase in trucking overall has been reflected in the demand for trucks on the road. In April of 2015, one truck manufacturer, Volvo, reported an 18% increase over the previous year in new trucks delivered to their North American customers. Volvo owns Mack, which also noted a significant and comparable increase in deliveries of commercial vehicles, as well.

Electrical machinery, listed as the top commodity transported between Mexico and the US in 2014 accounted for $96.6 billion worth of shipped merchandise. Approximately 92% of these goods were transported by truck. The runner up in the statistical data was computers, with $76.4 billion of such items moved by truck.