The year 2020 was rough for a lot of industries across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, and even though 2021 promises changes, it’s still a rough road ahead.
The US trucking industry saw the silver lining from the pandemic thanks to a boost in e-commerce, but it hasn’t been easy for them either, as companies like Titan Transline can attest to. 2021’s first months have fared a little better, posting weak numbers following yearly and monthly declines, though trucking freight did show good performance.
According to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, January 2021 saw cross-border freight go down by 3% in comparison to the same month in the prior year, following a good 3.2% increase in November 2020, and an okay 0.4% increase in December 2020. December 2020’s year-to-year increase was the first cross-border freight saw since February of the same year, just before the US locked down in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Freight going through the US’s national borders dropped by nearly 3% compared with December 2020, when cross-border went up nearly 1% compared to the prior month. Notably, this drop in January 2021 breaks the trend that that started in 2017, where the month of January started seeing monthly increases from the prior month, like clockwork, in spite of yearly fluctuations in numbers with no clear pattern.
In spite of drops in freight, trucks were responsible for carrying at least $61bn of the $94bn of cross-border imports and exports in January 2021. Granted, this is still a 1% drop from December 2020, and a less than 1% increase compared to January 2020.
On a monthly basis, Canada’s truck freight saw a drop of about 4%, while Mexico truck freight dropped by at least 1%. The most commonly shipped commodities by trucks were computers and their parts, motor vehicles and relevant parts, as well as electrical machinery, plastics, and measuring and testing instruments.
January 2020’s cross-border freight amounted to a total of at least $94bn, a $2bn drop from the prior month, and a yearly drop of $3bn from the prior year.
All shipping modes, except truck freight, saw a drop, with airfreight seeing the biggest drop, at 20%, followed by vessel, with a drop of 8%.