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December 2014 North American Freight Numbers

Press Release Number: 
BTS 10-15
Date: 
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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

Table Version | Excel

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

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $95.8 billion in December 2014 as four out of five transportation modes – truck, rail, air, and pipeline – carried more U.S.-NAFTA freight than in December 2013, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Table 1). Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows by all modes increased by 5.4 percent, with December marking the 11th consecutive month of year-over-year increases.

The value of NAFTA trade by vessel declined in December due to the reduced price of mineral fuels. The rise in total pipeline freight value took place despite a decline in cost per unit, due to an increase in the volume of freight.

Freight by Mode

In December 2014 compared to December 2013, the value of commodities moving by truck grew by the largest percentage of any mode, 9.3 percent. Rail freight increased by 8.3 percent, air rose by 6.3 percent, and pipeline grew by 4.0 percent (Table 2). Vessel freight decreased by 22.6 percent, mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices.

Trucks carried 59.2 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight and were the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $28.4 billion of the $52.5 billion of imports (54.0 percent) and $28.4 billion of the $43.3 billion of exports (65.6 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 15.1 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 8.3 percent; pipeline, 8.0 percent; and air, 4.1 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.3 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows (Table 2).

U.S.-Canada Freight

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

Table Version | Excel

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

U.S.-Canada freight totaled $53.1 billion in December 2014 as three out of five transportation modes – rail, truck, and pipeline – carried more U.S.-Canada freight than in December 2013. Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows by all modes increased by 4.7 percent. The value of U.S.-Canada trade by rail increased the most of any mode, growing by 8.1 percent. Truck freight increased by 5.2 percent and pipeline rose by 2.6 percent. The rise in total pipeline freight value took place despite a decline in cost per unit, due to an increase in the volume of U.S. imports of mineral fuels.  Air freight decreased by 1.8 percent.  Vessel freight fell by 12.5 percent mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices (Table 3).

Trucks carried 52.6 percent of the $53.1 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 16.0 percent; pipeline, 13.6 percent; vessel, 5.9 percent and air, 4.5 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.2 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 3).

U.S.-Mexico Freight

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

Table Version | Excel

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

U.S.-Mexico freight totaled $42.8 billion in December 2014 as four out of five transportation modes – pipeline, air, truck and rail – carried more U.S.-Mexico freight than in December 2013. Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight flows by all modes increased by 6.3 percent. The value of U.S.-Mexico pipeline freight rose 34.5 percent, the largest percentage increase of any mode. The rise in total pipeline freight value took place despite a decline in cost per unit, due to an increase in the volume of U.S. exports of mineral fuels. Pipeline freight remained 1.0 percent of total U.S.-Mexico freight value, the lowest value of any mode. Freight moved by air increased 22.3 percent, truck rose by 13.7 percent and rail rose by 8.5 percent. Freight carried by vessel decreased 28.0 percent mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices (Table 5).

Trucks carried 67.5 percent of the $42.8 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 14.0 percent; vessel, 11.3 percent; air, 3.5 percent; and pipeline, 1.0 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.5 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 5).

Commodities

In December 2014, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $7.2 billion, or 60.7 percent, moved by pipeline (Table 4). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in December 2014 was electrical machinery, of which $7.0 billion, or 90.8 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 January TransBorder numbers for March 31.

 

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 96,252 1.3 0.1
December 84,766 90,906 95,811 7.2 5.4
Year-to-date 1,110,413 1,140,770 1,192,671 2.7 4.5
Annual 1,110,413 1,140,770 1,192,671 2.7 4.5

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 2013 December 2014 Percent Change December 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 49,097 52,516 7.0
Exports 41,809 43,295 3.6
Total 90,906 95,811 5.4
All Surface Modes Imports 40,026 44,256 10.6
Exports 32,633 34,640 6.1
Total 72,660 78,895 8.6
Truck Imports 25,102 28,374 13.0
Exports 26,817 28,380 5.8
Total 51,919 56,754 9.3
Rail Imports 8,634 9,416 9.1
Exports 4,734 5,057 6.8
Total 13,368 14,473 8.3
Pipeline Imports 6,291 6,465 2.8
Exports 1,083 1,203 11.1
Total 7,373 7,668 4.0
Vessel Imports 5,784 4,492 -22.3
Exports 4,470 3,444 -23.0
Total 10,253 7,936 -22.6
Air Imports 1,454 1,613 10.9
Exports 2,200 2,270 3.2
Total 3,654 3,883 6.3

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   December 2013 December 2014 Percent Change December 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 26,969 28,654 6.3
Exports 23,716 24,406 2.9
Total 50,685 53,060 4.7
All Surface Modes Imports 22,686 24,299 7.1
Exports 18,754 19,327 3.1
Total 41,440 43,626 5.3
Truck Imports 11,085 12,069 8.9
Exports 15,448 15,831 2.5
Total 26,533 27,900 5.2
Rail Imports 5,326 5,779 8.5
Exports 2,540 2,726 7.3
Total 7,866 8,505 8.1
Pipeline Imports 6,275 6,451 2.8
Exports 766 770 0.5
Total 7,041 7,221 2.6
Vessel Imports 1,991 1,666 -16.3
Exports 1,567 1,447 -7.7
Total 3,558 3,112 -12.5
Air Imports 883 920 4.2
Exports 1,540 1,458 -5.3
Total 2,423 2,379 -1.8

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 4. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, December 2014

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 2,460 9,391 11,851
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 2,762 2,382 5,143
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 989 2,307 3,296
Pipepline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 758 6,440 7,198
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,222 1,291 2,513
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 339 165 504

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   December 2013 December 2014 Percent Change December 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 22,128 23,862 7.8
Exports 18,093 18,889 4.4
Total 40,221 42,751 6.3
All Surface Modes Imports 17,340 19,957 15.1
Exports 13,879 15,313 10.3
Total 31,219 35,269 13.0
Truck Imports 14,017 16,305 16.3
Exports 11,369 12,550 10.4
Total 25,386 28,855 13.7
Rail Imports 3,307 3,637 10.0
Exports 2,194 2,331 6.2
Total 5,502 5,968 8.5
Pipeline Imports 16 14 -11.0
Exports 316 433 36.8
Total 332 447 34.5
Vessel Imports 3,793 2,827 -25.5
Exports 2,902 1,997 -31.2
Total 6,695 4,824 -28.0
Air Imports 571 693 21.4
Exports 660 812 23.1
Total 1,231 1,505 22.3

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 6. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, December 2014

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,918 4,749 7,667
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,597 4,365 6,962
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 497 2,701 3,198
Pipepline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 433 14 447
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,175 2,017 3,191
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 260 238 498

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

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