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Three of Five Modes Carried More U.S.-NAFTA Trade in December 2013 than in December 2012

Press Release Number: 
BTS 10-14
Date: 
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

PDF | Excel

Figure 1.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: 
December 2013 Compared to December 2012

Table Version | Excel

Figure 1.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode:   December 2013 Compared to December 2012

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Three of the five transportation modes – truck, vessel and pipeline – carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in December 2013 than in December 2012, according to the December TransBorder Freight Data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Table 1).

BTS reported that pipelines showed the most year-to-year growth at 21.7 percent as the value of overall U.S. trade with its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico rose 6.4 percent from year to year (Table 2).

Trade by Mode
Truck, which carries nearly three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade and is the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners, rose 7.2 percent year-to-year while rail declined 2.3 percent. Vessel rose 10.7 percent and air declined 3.2 percent (Figure 1).

Trucks carried 57.2 percent of the $90.1 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in December 2013 accounting for $26.3 billion of exports and $25.2 billion of imports (Table 2). While the value of freight carried by rail decreased from year-to-year, rail was still the second largest mode, at 14.9 percent, followed by vessels at 11.2 percent, pipeline at 7.7 percent and air at 4.0 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 79.7 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows.

Trade with Canada
U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline, of which 89.2 percent was imported, increased the most of any mode from December 2012 to December 2013, growing 21.9 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 95.2 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in December (Tables 2, 4). Vessel freight exports to Canada increased by 64.8 percent from December 2012 due to an increase in exports of mineral fuels (Tables 4).

For trade with Canada in December, trucks carried 52.2 percent of the $50.0 billion of freight, followed by rail at 15.7 percent, pipelines at 13.2 percent, vessel at 7.1 percent and air at 4.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.2 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 4).

Figure 2.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode:
December 2012-December 2013

Table Version | Excel

Figure 2.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode: December 2012-December 2013

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Trade with Mexico
The value of U.S.-Mexico trade by pipeline had the largest percentage increase of any mode from December 2012 to December 2013, growing 17.5 percent (Table 6).  Freight moved by vessel and air between the U.S. and Mexico increased by 14.8 percent and decreased by 0.2 percent respectively (Figure 3).

For trade with Mexico in December, trucks carried 63.3 percent of the $40.1 billion of the freight, followed by vessel at 16.4 percent, rail at 13.8 percent, air at 3.1 percent and pipelines at 0.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 77.9 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 6).

Figure 3.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode:
December 2012-December 2013

Table Version | Excel

Figure 3.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode: December 2012-December 2013

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Commodities
In December 2013, the top commodity group transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $6.6 billion moved by pipeline (Table 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in December 2013 was electrical machinery, of which $7.2 billion moved by truck (Table 7). 

Reporting Notes
Beginning with January 2013, BTS monthly TransBorder press releases contain data for all modes of transportation. 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 a 2013 annual summary for March 20 and the release of January TransBorder numbers for March 27.

 

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

(millions of current dollars)

Month 2011 2012 2013 Percent Change 2011-2012 Percent Change 2012-2013
January 79,608 87,490 90,512 9.9 3.5
February 77,015 89,385 88,449 16.1 -1.0
March 94,228 99,510 95,566 5.6 -4.0
April 87,097 92,199 98,984 5.9 7.4
May 91,126 96,840 98,577 6.3 1.8
June 90,663 94,200 93,483 3.9 -0.8
July 84,952 87,691 93,192 3.2 6.3
August 93,450 94,593 96,526 1.2 2.0
September 90,771 89,875 94,350 -1.0 5.0
October 91,837 98,632 103,089 7.4 4.5
November 90,401 94,877 96,120 5.0 1.3
December 86,775 84,695 90,083 -2.4 6.4
Annual 1,057,924 1,109,988 1,138,931 4.9 2.6

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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   December 2012 December 2013 Percent Change December 2012-2013
All Modes Imports 46,103 48,820 5.9
Exports 38,591 41,263 6.9
Total 84,695 90,083 6.4
All Surface Modes Imports 37,346 39,801 6.6
Exports 30,100 32,021 6.4
Total 67,446 71,822 6.5
Truck Imports 23,239 25,234 8.6
Exports 24,796 26,260 5.9
Total 48,035 51,494 7.2
Rail Imports 9,006 8,651 -3.9
Exports 4,697 4,731 0.7
Total 13,703 13,382 -2.3
Pipeline Imports 5,101 5,916 16.0
Exports 607 1,030 69.8
Total 5,708 6,946 21.7
Vessel Imports 5,628 5,778 2.7
Exports 3,492 4,316 23.6
Total 9,121 10,094 10.7
Air Imports 1,591 1,398 -12.1
Exports 2,097 2,170 3.5
Total 3,688 3,568 -3.2

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/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 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. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode

December 2013 Compared to November in... Percent Change
Truck Rail Pipeline Air Vessel All Modes
2012 7.2 -2.3 21.7 -3.2 10.7 6.4
2011 2.7 1.7 -0.5 -7.8 16.4 3.8
2010 12.3 22.9 21.7 -11.0 27.1 14.8
2009 29.3 37.0 26.3 -2.5 59.3 31.6
2008 40.6 61.7 49.5 10.7 106.5 47.6
2007 26.6 21.9 24.4 7.8 44.3 26.5
2006 27.6 20.9 61.0 21.0 100.7 34.4
2005 30.9 26.9 22.3 14.5 83.0 33.0
2004 39.6 53.3 95.8 27.6 166.6 53.6

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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

 

Table 4. Value of Monthly U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   December 2012 December 2013 Percent Change December 2012-2013
All Modes Imports 25,798 26,693 3.5
Exports 22,191 23,304 5.0
Total 47,989 49,997 4.2
All Surface Modes Imports 21,115 22,454 6.3
Exports 17,810 18,144 1.9
Total 38,925 40,598 4.3
Truck Imports 10,130 11,227 10.8
Exports 14,803 14,891 0.6
Total 24,933 26,118 4.8
Rail Imports 5,903 5,327 -9.8
Exports 2,664 2,539 -4.7
Total 8,567 7,866 -8.2
Pipeline Imports 5,082 5,900 16.1
Exports 343 714 108.3
Total 5,425 6,614 21.9
Vessel Imports 2,472 1,990 -19.5
Exports 937 1,545 64.8
Total 3,409 3,534 3.7
Air Imports 950 827 -13.0
Exports 1,504 1,510 0.4
Total 2,454 2,337 -4.8

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/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 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 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, December 2013

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 2,496 2,234 4,731
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 854 2,047 2,901
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 713 5,891 6,604
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,393 1,742 3,135
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 361 149 510

Source: Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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

 

Table 6. Value of Monthly U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   December 2012 December 2013 Percent Change December 2012-2013
All Modes Imports 20,305 22,127 9.0
Exports 16,401 17,959 9.5
Total 36,705 40,086 9.2
All Surface Modes Imports 16,231 17,347 6.9
Exports 12,290 13,877 12.9
Total 28,521 31,223 9.5
Truck Imports 13,110 14,007 6.8
Exports 9,993 11,368 13.8
Total 23,103 25,376 9.8
Rail Imports 3,102 3,323 7.1
Exports 2,033 2,192 7.8
Total 5,135 5,516 7.4
Pipeline Imports 19 16 -14.7
Exports 264 316 19.8
Total 283 332 17.5
Vessel Imports 3,157 3,788 20.0
Exports 2,555 2,772 8.5
Total 5,712 6,560 14.8
Air Imports 641 571 -10.9
Exports 593 660 11.3
Total 1,234 1,231 -0.2

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/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 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 7. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, December 2013

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,647 4,591 7,238
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 683 2,813 3,496
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 281 21 302
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,779 2,672 4,450
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 230 225 456

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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