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2012 Surface Trade with Canada and Mexico Rose 6.2 Percent from 2011

Press Release Number: 
BTS 12-13
Date: 
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

bts_012_13.pdf | bts_012_13.xlsx

 

Figure 1: Surface Trade between U.S. and NAFTA: 1995 – 2012

Figure 1: Surface Trade between U.S. and NAFTA: 1995 – 2012

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, based on Transborder Freight Data, available at http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder, as of February 28, 2013.

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.

Trade using surface transportation modes between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico increased by 6.2 percent in 2012 compared to 2011, valued at $960 billion in 2012, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The $960 billion in U.S.-NAFTA surface mode trade was the highest annual amount since NAFTA went into effect in 1994 (Table 1).

BTS, a part of the Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), reported that U.S. imports by surface mode increased 5.6 percent in 2012 from 2011, while surface-based exports increased 6.9 percent during the same period (Table 2).

During the recession period of December 2007 to June 2009, U.S. trade carried by surface modes to and from Mexico declined less than trade with Canada and also rebounded faster.  The value of U.S.-Mexico surface trade declined 14.4 percent in 2009 from 2008, and then increased by 61.0 percent in the next three years to reach a level in 2012 that was 37.8 percent higher than in 2008.  The value of U.S.-Canada surface trade declined 28.1 percent in 2009 from 2008, and then increased by 44.2 percent in the next three years to reach a level in 2012 that was only 3.6 higher than in 2008.  As a result, U.S.-Mexico trade comprised 42.1 percent of North American surface freight trade in 2012, compared to 35.3 percent in 2008.

 

Figure 2: North American Surface Freight by Mode, 2012

Figure 2: North American Surface Freight by Mode, 2012

Surface modes shown by dotted segments
(billions of current dollars)

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transborder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

In 2012, 86.5 percent of U.S. merchandise trade by value with Canada and Mexico entered or exited the country by surface mode of transportation (Figure 2).  Total North American surface transportation trade is up by 50.8 percent since 2009, when U.S.-NAFTA trade fell to a recent low during the recession (Table 3).  In 2009, U.S.-NAFTA trade decreased by 23.3 percent from the previous year (Table 1).  See North American Transborder Freight Data  for historic data.

  U.S. Surface Transportation Trade with Canada

U.S.-Canada surface transportation trade totaled $556.2 billion in 2012, an increase of 3.6 percent compared to 2011 (Table 4).  The value of goods transported by rail had the largest year-to-year increase. Imports carried by rail were 7.4 percent higher in 2012 than 2011 while the value of exports carried by rail was 11.8 percent higher.  The value of pipeline imports and exports decreased, dropping 4.3 and 2.3 percent respectively in 2012 compared to 2011. 

Michigan led all states in surface trade with Canada in 2012 with $73.3 billion (Table 5).   Vehicles and vehicle parts accounted for $45.2 billion, 61.7 percent of total Michigan-Canada surface trade.  Of the top 10 states for U.S.-Canada surface trade in 2012, California had the highest percentage change over 2011, a 16.5 percent increase.  The increase in California-Canada surface trade was led by a 41.5 percent increase in vehicles and vehicle parts, the largest commodity by value in California-Canada surface trade.

The top commodity category overall transported between the U.S. and Canada by surface modes of transportation in 2012 was vehicles and vehicle parts (other than railway vehicles and parts) with $107.4 billion in trade (Table 8).  U.S.-Canada trade of this commodity group was split roughly even between exports and imports, reflecting the interdependency of automotive plants on both sides of the border.

U.S. Surface Transportation Trade with Mexico

U.S.-Mexico surface transportation trade totaled $403.9 billion in 2012, an increase of 10.0 percent compared to 2011 (Table 6). Similar to the trend on the northern border, the value of goods transported by rail had the highest year to your increase. Imports carried by rail were 14.3 percent higher in 2012 than 2011, while the value of exports carried by rail was 11.1 percent higher. However, the value of U.S.-Mexico pipeline trade was down in 2012 compared to 2011, imports decreased by 23.8 percent and exports decreased by 2.1 percent.

Texas led all states in surface trade with Mexico in 2012 with $145.8 billion (Table 7).   This is the fourth time on record that Texas has had more than $100 billion in trade with Mexico by surface modes of transportation in a calendar year.  Five commodities more than doubled in the value of Texas-Mexico trade in 2012 over 2011; the most notable was pearls and precious stones which increased by more than $2 billion from the previous year.  Five of the top 10 states with U.S.-Mexico surface trade in 2012 saw double digit percent increases from 2011.

The top commodity transported between the U.S. and Mexico by surface modes of transportation was electrical machinery with $85.7 billion moved in 2012 (Table 9).  Measuring and testing equipment was the fifth highest commodity by value on the U.S.-Mexico Border, compared with its ranking as the 12th highest on the U.S.-Canada Border.   

TransBorder Data

The TransBorder Freight Dataset is a special extract of the official U.S. foreign trade statistics.  The data are obtained by BTS from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division.  TransBorder numbers include data received by BTS as of Feb. 8. 

This news release and summary tables can be found at http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts.  More information on Transborder freight data is posted on the BTS website at http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder.

 

Table 1. Annual Value of U.S. Surface Transportation Trade with Canada and Mexico and Percent Change from Previous Year

(millions of current dollars)

Year Amount Percent Change from Previous Year
1995 370,265 NA
1996 410,382 10.8
1997 425,977 3.8
1998 451,736 6.0
1999 501,250 11.0
2000 575,713 14.9
2001 547,312 -4.9
2002 540,795 -1.2
2003 562,776 4.1
2004 633,563 12.6
2005 697,987 10.2
2006 760,127 8.9
2007 797,303 4.9
2008 829,875 4.1
2009 636,695 -23.3
2010 791,329 24.3
2011 904,133 14.3
2012 960,135 6.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transborder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

NOTES: Numbers may not add to totals due

 

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   2010 2011 2012 Percent Change 2010 - 2011 Percent Change 2011 - 2012
All Surface Modes Imports 427,592 486,662 513,694 13.8 5.6
Exports 363,738 417,471 446,440 14.8 6.9
Total 791,329 904,133 960,135 14.3 6.2
             
Truck Imports 272,186 303,012 321,351 11.3 6.1
Exports 284,698 322,846 343,388 13.4 6.4
             
Rail Imports 85,480 97,422 106,825 14.0 9.7
Exports 45,748 54,431 60,679 19.0 11.5
             
Pipeline Imports 57,744 71,024 67,947 23.0 -4.3
Exports 5,189 9,703 9,492 87.0 -2.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transborder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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

NOTE: 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, other and unknown modes of transportation.  For additional detail refer to the "Data Fields" Section of the Transborder web page: http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataFields.html

 

Table 3. Prior Year Surface Trade with Canada and Mexico Compared with 2012

2012 Compared to Percent Change to 2012
Imports Exports Total Surface Trade
2011 5.6 6.9 6.2
2010 20.1 22.7 21.3
2009 50.4 51.3 50.8
2008 10.6 22.2 15.7
2007 13.5 29.5 20.4
2006 18.3 36.9 26.3
2005 28.2 50.2 37.6
2004 41.0 65.9 51.5
2003 59.4 85.6 70.6
2002 66.1 92.8 77.5

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transborder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

 

Table 4. U.S. Merchandise Trade with Canada by Surface Modes of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   2010 2011 2012 Percent Change 2010 - 2011 Percent Change 2011 - 2012
All Surface Modes Imports 246,252 282,582 290,096 14.8 2.7
Exports 224,809 254,450 266,120 13.2 4.6
Total 471,061 537,031 556,216 14.0 3.6
             
Truck Imports 123,238 135,528 138,948 10.0 2.5
Exports 173,588 195,126 202,542 12.4 3.8
             
Rail Imports 56,996 65,118 69,914 14.3 7.4
Exports 26,116 29,569 33,068 13.2 11.8
             
Pipeline Imports 57,562 70,743 67,733 22.9 -4.3
Exports 3,151 6,211 6,071 97.1 -2.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transborder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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

NOTE: 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, other and unknown modes of transportation.  For additional detail 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 Surface Modes of Transportation

Ranked by 2012 Value

(millions of current dollars)

State 2011 2012 Percent Change 2011 -2012
Value Rank Value Rank
Michigan 68,412 1 73,258 1 7.1
Illinois 53,845 2 57,326 2 6.5
California 31,331 4 36,506 3 16.5
Ohio 33,123 3 34,121 4 3.0
Texas 30,608 5 32,370 5 5.8
New York 30,076 6 27,950 6 -7.1
Pennsylvania 21,097 7 20,844 7 -1.2
Washington 20,250 8 19,548 8 -3.5
Indiana 17,714 10 18,951 9 7.0
Minnesota 18,193 9 18,513 10 1.8

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transborder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

NOTE: Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 6. U.S. Merchandise Trade with Mexico by Surface Modes of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   2010 2011 2012 Percent Change 2010 - 2011 Percent Change 2011 - 2012
All Surface Modes Imports 181,339 204,080 223,599 12.5 9.6
Exports 138,929 163,021 180,320 17.3 10.6
Total 320,268 367,101 403,919 14.6 10.0
             
Truck Imports 148,948 167,483 182,403 12.4 8.9
Exports 111,110 127,720 140,846 15.0 10.3
             
Rail Imports 28,484 32,303 36,912 13.4 14.3
Exports 19,632 24,862 27,611 26.6 11.1
             
Pipeline Imports 182 281 214 54.9 -23.8
Exports 2,038 3,492 3,421 71.3 -2.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transborder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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

NOTE: 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, other and unknown modes of transportation.  For additional detail 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 Surface Modes of Transportation

Ranked by 2012 Value

(millions of current dollars)

State 2011 2012 Percent Change 2011 - 2012
Value Rank Value Rank
Texas 128,981 1 145,850 1 13.1
California 54,496 2 56,994 2 4.6
Michigan 41,376 3 48,110 3 16.3
Illinois 12,588 4 13,666 4 8.6
Arizona 11,725 5 12,848 5 9.6
Ohio 9,687 6 10,739 6 10.9
Tennessee 7,326 7 8,741 7 19.3
Indiana 6,633 8 7,250 8 9.3
North Carolina 6,009 9 6,727 9 12.0
Georgia 5,265 10 5,406 10 2.7

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transborder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

NOTE: Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

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

(millions of current dollars)

Commodities Exports Imports Total
Vehicles Other than Railway 49,853 57,548 107,401
Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 12,762 83,499 96,261
Computer-Related Machinery and Parts 44,437 18,748 63,185
Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 22,796 6,558 29,354
Plastics 12,763 10,157 22,920

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transborder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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

 

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

(millions of current dollars)

Commodities Exports Imports Total
Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 31,542 54,195 85,737
Computer-Related Machinery and Parts 34,476 41,629 76,105
Vehicles Other than Railway 20,190 50,552 70,742
Plastics 13,776 3,656 17,432
Measuring and Testing Equipment 4,750 9,987 14,737

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transborder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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