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October 2012 U.S. Surface Transportation Trade with Canada and Mexico Totaled $85.3 Billion

Press Release Number: 
BTS 01-13
Date: 
Friday, January 4, 2013
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen - 202-366-5568

PDF: bts001_13.pdf | Excel: bts001_13.xls

Figure 1: Trade Among the U.S. and NAFTA Countries, January 2004-October 2012
Unadjusted and Adjusted for Inflation and Exchange Rate Fluctuations

Excel: bts001_13_figure_01.xls

Figure 1: Trade Among the U.S. and NAFTA Countries, January 2004-October 2012

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/
U.S. export data adjusted based on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Exports by End Use Category for All Commodities. U.S. imports adjusted based on BLS U.S. Import Price Indexes for Canada and Mexico, January 2004 = 100.  See Technical Note in press release text.

Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, rose 7.9 percent in October 2012 compared to October 2011, totaling $85.3 billion, unadjusted for inflation (Table 1 and Figure 1), according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation.  Adjusted for inflation and exchange rates, the October 2012 total was $61.7 billion in 2004 dollars, up 7.6 percent from October 2011.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the October 2012 value of U.S. surface transportation trade in current dollars with Canada and Mexico rose 38.9 percent from October 2009, shortly after the end of the last recession (Table 3). Only figure 1 in the press release is adjusted for inflation and exchange rate fluctuations.

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico in October increased by 71.8 percent compared to October 2002, a period of 10 years. Imports in October were up 60.1 percent since October 2002, while exports were up 87.2 percent (Figure 2 and Table 3).  See Transborder Press Releases for historical data.

Surface transportation includes freight movements by truck, rail, pipeline, mail, other modes of transport, and goods moving into Foreign Trade Zones.  In October, 86.5 percent of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moved via land, 9.5 percent moved by vessel, and 4.0 percent moved by air (Figure 2).

Figure 2: North American Freight by Mode, October 2012

bts001_13_figure_02.xls

Figure 2: North American Freight by Mode, October 2012

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico increased 9.8 percent in October 2012 from September 2012 (Table 2). Month-to-month changes can be affected by seasonal variations, the number of days in each month, and other factors.

Figure 3: U.S. Surface Trade with Canada and Mexico, Month of October 1995-2012
Unadjusted for Inflation and Exchange Rate Fluctuations

bts001_13_figure_03.xls

Figure 3: U.S. Surface Trade with Canada and Mexico, Month of October 1995-2012

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/

U.S.-Mexico October 2012 trade reached $36.9 billion, a 13.1 percent increase from October 2011, while U.S.-Canada trade was $48.4 billion, a 4.3 percent increase.  For trade statistics by mode, see Table 4 for Canada and Table 6 for Mexico.

In October, Michigan led all states in surface trade with Canada, at $6.8 billion in current dollars (Table 5).  The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by surface modes of transportation in October was vehicles, valued at $9.8 billion in current dollars (Table 8). 

Texas continued to lead all states in surface trade with Mexico at $13.6 billion in current dollars.  The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico by surface modes of transportation in October was electrical machinery with $8.2 billion in trade in current dollars (Table 9).

Technical Note: The BLS indexes used in the adjustments for inflation and exchange rates may be revised in each of the three months after original publication.  For example, index values released in January 2012 were subject to revision in February, March and April of that year.

For more information, see Transborder Press Releases for previous press releases and summary tables. See TransBorder Freight Data for data from previous months, and individual state data.  BTS has scheduled the release of November 2012 TransBorder numbers for Jan. 31.

Table 1. Value of Monthly U.S. Surface Transportation Trade with Canada and Mexico

(millions of current dollars)

Month 2010 2011 2012 Percent Change 2010-2011 Percent Change 2011-2012
January 56,697 67,734 75,534 19.5 11.5
February 59,492 66,534 78,135 11.8 17.4
March 69,943 80,822 85,827 15.6 6.2
April 65,831 73,767 79,784 12.1 8.2
May 66,805 77,318 83,770 15.7 8.3
June 69,859 77,521 82,601 11.0 6.6
July 61,260 72,363 75,694 18.1 4.6
August 67,964 80,406 82,480 18.3 2.6
September 68,324 77,725 77,680 13.8 -0.1
October 70,565 79,040 85,290 12.0 7.9
November 68,060 76,672   12.7  
December 66,530 74,230   11.6  
Year-to-date 656,740 753,230 806,796 14.7 7.1
Annual 791,329 904,133   14.3  

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/

NOTE: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.  Percent Changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 2. U.S. Surface Transportation Trade with Canada and Mexico by Surface Modes of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   October 2011 September 2012 October 2012 Percent Change September 2012 - October 2012 Percent Change October 2011 - 2012
All Surface Modes Imports 42,265 41,238 45,132 9.4 6.8
Exports 36,775 36,442 40,158 10.2 9.2
Total 79,040 77,680 85,290 9.8 7.9
Truck Imports 26,746 25,523 28,635 12.2 7.1
Exports 28,345 27,647 30,896 11.7 9.0
Rail Imports 8,800 8,979 9,493 5.7 7.9
Exports 5,035 5,052 5,376 6.4 6.8
Pipeline Imports 5,363 4,977 5,626 13.0 4.9
Exports 740 988 909 -8.0 22.8

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.   Percent Changes based on numbers prior to rounding.  The value of trade for all surface modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail and pipeline modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation.  For additional detail, please refer to the “Data Fields” section of the TransBorder web page: http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataFields.html

Table 3. October 2012 Surface Transportation Trade with Canada and Mexico Compared with October of Prior Years

Unadjusted for Inflation and Exchange Rate Fluctuations

Compared to October in... Percent Change
Imports Exports Total Surface Trade
2011 6.8 9.2 7.9
2010 20.4 21.4 20.9
2009 36.3 41.9 38.9
2008 13.1 22.5 17.3
2007 7.5 24.4 14.9
2006 18.9 38.9 27.6
2005 21.3 49.9 33.3
2004 38.5 65.3 49.9
2003 51.2 78.4 62.9
2002 60.1 87.2 71.8

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/

Table 4. U.S. Surface Transportation Trade with Canada

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   October 2011 September 2012 October 2012 Percent Change September 2012 - October 2012 Percent Change October 2011- 2012
All Surface Modes Imports 24,187 23,572 25,135 6.6 3.9
Exports 22,259 22,120 23,284 5.3 4.6
Total 46,445 45,692 48,419 6.0 4.3
Truck Imports 11,943 11,294 12,366 9.5 3.5
Exports 16,949 16,598 17,769 7.1 4.8
Rail Imports 5,846 5,856 6,135 4.8 5.0
Exports 2,809 2,804 2,831 0.9 0.8
Pipeline Imports 5,341 4,964 5,625 13.3 5.3
Exports 494 695 512 -26.3 3.7

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.   Percent Changes based on numbers prior to rounding.  The value of trade for all surface modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail and pipeline modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation.  For additional detail, please refer to the “Data Fields” section of the TransBorder web page: http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataFields.html

Table 5. Top 10 States Trading with Canada by All Surface Modes of Transportation

Ranked by October 2012 Surface Trade Value

(millions of current dollars)

State October 2011 October 2012 Percent Change October 2011-2012
Value Rank Value Rank
 Michigan 5,701 1 6,754 1 18.5
 Illinois 4,390 2 4,636 2 5.6
 California 3,266 3 3,318 3 1.6
 Ohio 2,941 4 2,899 4 -1.5
 Texas 2,857 5 2,748 5 -3.8
 New York 2,462 6 2,358 6 -4.2
 Pennsylvania 1,878 7 1,936 7 3.1
 Washington 1,600 8 1,809 8 13.0
 Minnesota 1,517 9 1,706 9 12.5
 Indiana 1,508 10 1,647 10 9.2

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.  Percent Changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 6. U.S. Surface Transportation Trade with Mexico

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   October 2011 September 2012 October 2012 Percent Change September 2012 – October 2012 Percent Change October 2011 - 2012
All Surface Modes Imports 18,079 17,667 19,997 13.2 10.6
Exports 14,516 14,322 16,874 17.8 16.2
Total 32,595 31,989 36,871 15.3 13.1
Truck Imports 14,803 14,229 16,269 14.3 9.9
Exports 11,396 11,049 13,127 18.8 15.2
Rail Imports 2,955 3,123 3,357 7.5 13.6
Exports 2,226 2,248 2,546 13.2 14.4
Pipeline Imports 23 13 2 -88.0 -92.9
Exports 246 293 397 35.5 61.1

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.   Percent Changes based on numbers prior to rounding.  The value of trade for all surface modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail and pipeline modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation.  For additional detail, please refer to the “Data Fields” section of the TransBorder web page: http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataFields.html

Table 7. Top 10 States Trading with Mexico by All Surface Modes of Transportation

Ranked by October 2012 Surface Trade Value

(millions of current dollars)

State October 2011 October 2012 Percent Change October 2011-2012
Value Rank Value Rank
 Texas 11,322 1 13,590 1 20.0
 California 5,160 2 5,277 2 2.3
 Michigan 3,770 3 4,393 3 16.6
 Illinois 1,031 4 1,295 4 25.7
 Arizona 878 5 983 5 12.1
 Ohio 836 6 954 6 14.1
 Tennessee 728 7 808 7 11.0
 Indiana 584 8 621 8 6.4
 North Carolina 524 9 582 9 11.2
 Georgia 429 11 504 10 17.4

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/

NOTE: Percent Changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 8. Top Five Commodities Transported between the U.S. and Canada by All Surface Modes of Transportation, October 2012

(millions of current dollars)

Commodities Exports Imports Total
Vehicles Other than Railway 4,345 5,455 9,800
Oil and Gas 1,078 6,900 7,978
Computer-Related Machinery and Parts 3,792 1,629 5,421
Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,103 525 2,627
Plastics 1,055 843 1,899

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/

NOTE: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.

Table 9. Top Five Commodities Transported between the U.S. and Mexico by All Surface Modes of Transportation, October 2012

(millions of current dollars)

Commodities Exports Imports Total
Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,900 5,273 8,173
Computer-Related Machinery and Parts 3,260 3,431 6,691
Vehicles Other than Railway 1,812 4,671 6,483
Plastics 1,297 320 1,616
Measuring and Testing Instruments 456 901 1,357

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/

NOTE: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.