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October 2014 North American Freight Numbers

Press Release Number: 
BTS 01-15
Date: 
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

PDF | Excel

Figure 1.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: 
October 2013 - October 2014

Table Version | Excel

  Figure 1.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: October 2013 - October 2014

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $108.2 billion in October 2014 as three transportation modes – air, rail, and trucks – carried more U.S.-NAFTA freight than in October 2013, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Figure 1, Table 1). October 2014 was the highest month on record for the value of U.S.-NAFTA trade flows, not adjusted for inflation.

Freight by Mode

In October 2014 compared to October 2013, the value of commodities moving by truck grew by the largest percentage of any mode, 7.2 percent. Air freight increased 4.9 percent followed by rail at 2.4 percent. The two modes that move the most mineral fuels saw their total value of shipments decline on a year-over-year basis: pipeline by 1.2 percent and vessel by 7.6 percent (Figure 1, Table 2).

Of the $5.1 billion increase in the value of U.S.-NAFTA freight from October 2013, truck freight contributed the most, $4.4 billion, followed by rail, $0.4 billion (Table 2).

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $33.8 billion of exports and $32.3 billion of imports.  

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 15.1 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 7.7 percent; pipeline, 7.3 percent; and air, 3.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.5 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows (Table 2).

U.S.-Canada Freight

Figure 2.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode:
October 2013 - October 2014

Table Version | Excel

Figure 2.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode:

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Year-over-year, the percent change in the value of U.S.-Canada freight moved by truck increased the most of any mode, growing 4.7 percent (Figure 2). Freight moved by air increased 1.7 percent and rail by 0.7 percent. Freight moved by pipeline decreased 2.6 percent and vessel decreased 14.7 percent, mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices.

Trucks carried 54.8 percent of the $58.6 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 16.1 percent; pipeline, 12.8 percent; vessel, 4.9 percent and air, 4.5 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.7 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 3).

U.S.-Mexico Freight

Figure 3.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode:
October 2013 - October 2014

Table Version Excel

Figure 3.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode:

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Mexico pipeline freight rose 33.2 percent, the largest percentage increase of any mode (Figure 3), due to an increase in U.S. exports of mineral fuels.  Freight moved by air increased 11.1 percent; truck, 9.6 percent; and rail 4.9 percent. Freight moved by vessel decreased 3.3 percent.

Trucks carried 68.5 percent of the $49.7 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 13.9 percent; vessel, 10.9 percent; air, 3.0 percent; and pipeline, 0.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.2 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 5).

Commodities

In October 2014, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $7.4 billion, or 63.1 percent, moved by pipeline (Table 4). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in October 2014 was electrical machinery, of which $8.8 billion, or 91.1 percent, moved by trucks (Table 6). 

Reporting Notes

Press releases and the BTS website define surface transportation modes as truck, rail and pipeline. See North American TransBorder Freight Data on the BTS website for additional data for surface modes since 1995 and all modes since 2004. The category of all modes of transportation cited in the following tables includes freight movements by truck, rail, vessel, pipeline, air, other and unknown modes of transport.                

Data in this press release are not adjusted for inflation. Additional summary data adjusted for inflation and exchange rates can be found on the BTS website under TransBorder Indexed Freight Flow Data. 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 more information, see TransBorder Press Releases  for previous press releases and summary tables. See TransBorder Freight Data for data from previous months, and more state, port, or commodity data.  BTS has scheduled the release of November TransBorder numbers for Jan. 29.

 

Table 1. Value of Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows

(millions of current dollars)

Month 2012 2013 2014 Percent Change 2012-2013 Percent Change 2013-2014
January 87,383 90,766 90,326 3.9 -0.5
February 89,294 88,894 89,557 -0.4 0.7
March 99,726 95,757 101,478 -4.0 6.0
April 92,278 98,956 100,141 7.2 1.2
May 96,778 98,742 103,942 2.0 5.3
June 94,178 93,502 102,978 -0.7 10.1
July 87,815 93,080 101,075 6.0 8.6
August 94,847 96,426 100,624 1.7 4.4
September 89,809 94,465 102,245 5.2 8.2
October 98,612 103,140 108,243 4.6 4.9
November 94,927 96,136   1.3  
December 84,766 90,906   7.2  
Year-to-date 930,719 953,728 1,000,609 2.5 4.9
Annual 1,110,413 1,140,770   2.7  

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 2. Value of Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   October 2013 October 2014 Percent Change October 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 54,928 58,024 5.6
Exports 48,211 50,219 4.2
Total 103,140 108,243 4.9
All Surface Modes Imports 45,981 49,780 8.3
Exports 39,672 40,582 2.3
Total 85,653 90,362 5.5
Truck Imports 28,965 32,325 11.6
Exports 32,762 33,819 3.2
Total 61,728 66,144 7.2
Rail Imports 10,251 10,574 3.1
Exports 5,675 5,738 1.1
Total 15,926 16,312 2.4
Pipeline Imports 6,765 6,882 1.7
Exports 1,235 1,024 -17.0
Total 8,000 7,906 -1.2
Vessel Imports 5,556 4,598 -17.2
Exports 3,438 3,715 8.0
Total 8,995 8,313 -7.6
Air Imports 1,714 1,744 1.8
Exports 2,251 2,416 7.3
Total 3,965 4,160 4.9

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Notes: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air 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. Value of Monthly U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   October 2013 October 2014 Percent Change October 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 29,622 30,613 3.3
Exports 27,118 27,962 3.1
Total 56,740 58,575 3.2
All Surface Modes Imports 25,245 26,742 5.9
Exports 22,485 22,299 -0.8
Total 47,730 49,041 2.7
Truck Imports 12,138 13,514 11.3
Exports 18,545 18,611 0.4
Total 30,683 32,125 4.7
Rail Imports 6,361 6,366 0.1
Exports 3,001 3,063 2.1
Total 9,362 9,428 0.7
Pipeline Imports 6,746 6,862 1.7
Exports 940 626 -33.4
Total 7,686 7,488 -2.6
Vessel Imports 2,151 1,372 -36.2
Exports 1,240 1,520 22.6
Total 3,391 2,892 -14.7
Air Imports 1,061 1,130 6.5
Exports 1,541 1,517 -1.6
Total 2,602 2,646 1.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Notes: : Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air 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 4. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, October 2014

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 2,454 9,335 11,790
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 3,224 2,728 5,952
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 942 2,588 3,530
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 611 6,823 7,434
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,232 966 2,198
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 352 154 506

Source: Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

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

 

Table 5. Value of Monthly U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   October 2013 October 2014 Percent Change October 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 25,307 27,411 8.3
Exports 21,093 22,257 5.5
Total 46,400 49,668 7.0
All Surface Modes Imports 20,736 23,039 11.1
Exports 17,187 18,283 6.4
Total 37,923 41,322 9.0
Truck Imports 16,827 18,810 11.8
Exports 14,218 15,209 7.0
Total 31,045 34,019 9.6
Rail Imports 3,890 4,208 8.2
Exports 2,674 2,676 0.1
Total 6,564 6,884 4.9
Pipeline Imports 19 20 6.7
Exports 295 398 34.8
Total 314 418 33.2
Vessel Imports 3,405 3,225 -5.3
Exports 2,199 2,195 -0.2
Total 5,603 5,420 -3.3
Air Imports 653 615 -5.9
Exports 710 899 26.7
Total 1,363 1,514 11.1

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Notes: : Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air 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 6. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, October 2014

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 3,762 5,865 9,626
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 3,265 5,503 8,768
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 648 3,133 3,781
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 398 20 418
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,398 2,435 3,834
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 394 192 586

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

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