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Value of 2013 U.S.-NAFTA Freight on Surface Modes Rose from 2012; Declined on Air and Vessel

Press Release Number: 
BTS 14-14
Date: 
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

PDF | Excel

Figure 1: U.S.-NAFTA Merchandise Trade by Mode: 2010-2013

Table Version | Excel

(billions of current dollars)

Figure 1: U.S.-NAFTA Merchandise Trade by Mode: 2010-2013

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

Three of the five transportation modes – the surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline – carried more U.S. trade with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico by value in 2013 than in 2012 while the value of freight transported by air and vessel decreased, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Figure 1 and Table 2).

Trade by pipeline also grew the most from year-to-year, 7.7 percent, partly due to the value of petroleum products, as the overall value on all modes rose 2.6 percent. Smaller increases took place on rail (4.6 percent) and truck (2.2) while vessel trade fell for the second consecutive year (-2.4) and air trade declined for the third straight year (-1.0) (Tables 1, 2).

Figure 2: North American Freight by Mode, 2013

Table Version | Excel

(billions of current dollars)

Figure 2: North American Freight by Mode, 2013

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

Trade by Mode
Most U.S.-NAFTA trade in 2013 (82.4 percent) was carried on the surface modes of truck, rail and pipeline. Trucks carried 59.7 percent, followed by rail at 15.4 percent, air at 9.1 percent, pipeline at 7.3 percent and vessel at 3.8 percent (Figure 2, Table 1).

Previous year: From 2012 to 2013, total U.S.-NAFTA trade rose 2.6 percent.  Freight on two modes – pipeline (7.7 percent) and rail (4.6) – grew faster than overall trade. Truck (2.2) grew slower while vessel (-2.4) and air (-1.0) declined (Table 2).

Recent low: From 2009, when trade fell to a recent low during the recession, total U.S.-NAFTA trade in 2013 rose 54.9 percent (Table 3).  Freight on three modes – rail (83.2 percent), vessel (74.3) and pipeline (69.5) – grew faster than overall trade. Truck (49.4) and air (11.0) grew slower (Table 2). 

Start of database: From 2004 to 2013, total U.S.-NAFTA trade rose 60.0 percent.  Freight on three modes – vessel (124.2 percent), pipeline (116.6) and rail (61.7) grew faster than overall trade. Truck (50.0) and air (36.0) grew slower (Table 2).

Although truck carries more than half of U.S.-NAFTA trade, 59.7 percent in 2013, its share of total trade has dropped by 4.0 percentage points from 2004, the first year of BTS data for all modes. Vessel’s percentage share rose 2.6 points while pipeline rose 1.9 points (Table 1). See North American Transborder Freight Data  for historic data. 

Trade with Canada
Most U.S.-Canada trade in 2013 (83.6 percent) was carried on the surface modes of truck, rail and pipeline. Trucks carried 54.4 percent, followed by rail at 16.7 percent, pipeline at 12.6 percent, vessel at 5.7 percent and air at 4.5 percent (Table 3).

Previous year: From 2012 to 2013, total U.S.-Canada trade rose 2.6 percent (Table 3).  Freight on two modes – vessel (13.0) and pipeline (7.7 percent) grew faster than overall trade. Rail (2.3), air (2.3) and truck (0.7) grew slower.

Start of database: From 2004 to 2013, total U.S.-Canada trade rose 42.1 percent (Table 3).  Freight on two modes – vessel (159.8 percent) and pipeline (106.8) grew faster than overall trade. Rail (41.4), truck (28.0) and air (26.6) grew slower.

Although truck carries more than half of U.S.-Canada trade, 54.4 percent in 2013, its share of total trade has dropped by 6.0 percentage points from 2004, the first year of BTS data for all modes. Truck’s share of imports declined 9.6 percentage points from 51.9 percent to 42.3 percent. Pipeline’s percent share of total trade rose 3.9 points while vessel rose 2.6 points. Pipeline’s share of imports rose 7.3 percentage points from 14.4 percent to 21.7 (Table 3).

Michigan led all states in trade with Canada in 2013 with $74.6 billion. Of the top 10 states for U.S.-Canada trade in 2013, Washington had the highest percent change over 2012, a 6.4 percent increase (Table 4).

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada in 2013 was mineral fuels at $134.1 billion with $79.2 billion or 59.1 percent moved by pipelines.  The next highest commodity category transported by a single mode in U.S.-Canada trade was vehicles and vehicle parts (other than railway vehicles and parts) with $66.1 billion in trade moved by trucks (Table 7).

Trade with Mexico
Most U.S.-Mexico trade in 2013 (80.8 percent) was carried on the surface modes of truck, rail and pipeline. Trucks carried 66.2 percent, followed by rail at 13.8 percent, vessel at 13.3 percent, air at 3.0 percent and pipeline at 0.8 percent (Table 5).

Previous year: From 2012 to 2013, total U.S.-Mexico trade rose 2.6 percent (Table 5).  Freight on three modes – pipeline (8.5 percent), rail (8.2) and truck (3.8) – grew faster than overall trade. Vessel (-9.1) and air (-6.9) declined.

Start of database: From 2004 to 2013, total U.S.-Mexico trade rose 90.0 percent (Table 2).  Freight on vessel (108.8 percent) and rail (106.5) grew faster than overall trade. Truck (82.1) and air (58.4) grew slower.  Pipeline, which carries a small amount of U.S.-Mexico trade (less than 1 percent of the total) increased $3.8 billion (4,410.0 percent) due predominantly to an increase in U.S. exports of mineral fuels.  

Truck carries two-thirds of U.S.-Mexico trade, 66.2 percent in 2013. Truck’s share of total trade dropped by 2.9 percentage points from 2004, the first year of BTS data for all modes. Truck’s share of exports declined 5.1 percentage points from 71.6 percent to 66.6 percent. Vessel’s percentage share of total trade rose 1.2 points while rail rose 1.1 points. Vessel’s share of exports rose 5.2 percentage points from 6.7 percent to 12.0 (Table 5).

Texas led all states in trade with Mexico in 2013 with $195.6 billion. Of the top 10 states for U.S.-Mexico trade in 2013, Illinois had the highest percent change over 2012, a 22.5 percent increase (Table 6). 

The top commodity transported between the U.S. and Mexico in 2013 was electrical machinery at $94.2 billion with $85.1 billion or 90.4 percent moved by trucks.  The next highest commodity category transported by a single mode in U.S.-Mexico trade was mineral fuels with $50.3 billion in trade moved by vessel (Table 8).

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. 

This news release and summary tables can be found on the BTS website.  More information on Transborder freight data  is posted on the BTS website.

 

Table 1. Modal Shares of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows

Trade by All Modes

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   2004 2012 2013 Percent Change 2004-2013 Percent Change 2012-2013
All Modes Imports 411,771 601,899 612,533 48.8 1.8
Exports 299,877 508,089 526,398 75.5 3.6
Total 711,647 1,109,988 1,138,931 60.0 2.6
Share of Total by Mode (percent of total value) Percentage Point Change 2004-2013 Percentage Point Change 2012-2013
All Surface Modes* Imports 85.6 82.4 83.4 -2.2 1.0
Exports 82.4 81.4 81.1 -1.3 -0.3
Total 84.3 82.0 82.4 -1.9 0.4
Truck Imports 57.7 53.4 53.1 -4.6 -0.3
Exports 71.8 67.6 67.3 -4.5 -0.3
Total 63.6 59.9 59.7 -4.0 -0.2
Rail Imports 19.0 17.7 18.5 -0.4 0.8
Exports 10.1 11.9 11.7 1.6 -0.2
Total 15.2 15.1 15.4 0.2 0.3
Pipeline Imports 8.9 11.3 11.8 2.9 0.5
Exports 0.6 1.9 2.1 1.6 0.2
Total 5.4 7.0 7.3 1.9 0.3
Vessel Imports 8.6 11.5 10.4 1.7 -1.1
Exports 3.5 7.2 7.6 4.0 0.3
Total 6.5 9.5 9.1 2.6 -0.5
Air Imports 2.9 3.2 3.0 0.1 -0.2
Exports 6.7 4.9 4.8 -2.0 -0.1
Total 4.5 4.0 3.8 -0.7 -0.1

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/ as of March 2014.

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

* The percent of modal share for all surface modes equals the sum of the share of the truck, rail and pipeline modes.

 

 

Table 2. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode

2013 Compared to Percent Change Total (millions of current dollars)
Truck Rail Pipeline Air Vessel All Modes
2012 2.2 4.6 7.7 -1.0 -2.4 2.6 1,109,988
2011 8.6 15.4 3.3 -4.4 -4.6 7.7 1,057,924
2010 22.0 33.5 32.5 -3.4 27.1 24.1 917,647
2009 49.4 83.2 69.5 11.0 74.3 54.9 735,174
2008 22.5 24.8 -5.0 6.7 10.8 18.2 963,923
2007 22.5 27.1 40.6 15.8 39.6 25.3 908,888
2006 27.3 35.9 46.8 21.3 47.4 31.5 866,099
2005 38.5 50.4 61.3 31.7 76.6 44.3 789,537
2004 50.0 61.7 116.6 36.0 124.2 60.0 711,647

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/ as of March 2014.

 

Table 3. Modal Shares of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows

Trade by All Modes

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   2004 2012 2013 Percent Change 2004-2013 Percent Change 2012-2013
All Modes Imports 255,928 324,246 332,078 29.8 2.4
Exports 189,101 291,758 300,245 58.8 2.9
Total 445,029 616,004 632,322 42.1 2.6
Share of Total by Mode (percent of total value) Percentage Point Change 2004-2013 Percentage Point Change 2012-2013
All Surface Modes* Imports 88.9 85.3 85.5 -3.4 0.2
Exports 81.5 82.8 81.6 0.1 -1.3
Total 85.8 84.1 83.6 -2.1 -0.5
Truck Imports 51.9 42.9 42.3 -9.6 -0.6
Exports 71.9 69.4 67.8 -4.1 -1.6
Total 60.4 55.4 54.4 -6.0 -1.1
Rail Imports 22.6 21.6 21.5 -1.1 -0.1
Exports 8.8 11.3 11.3 2.5 0.0
Total 16.8 16.7 16.7 -0.1 -0.1
Pipeline Imports 14.4 20.9 21.7 7.3 0.8
Exports 0.8 2.1 2.5 1.6 0.4
Total 8.6 12.0 12.6 3.9 0.6
Vessel Imports 4.2 7.3 7.0 2.8 -0.3
Exports 1.6 2.5 4.2 2.6 1.7
Total 3.1 9.8 5.7 2.6 -4.1
Air Imports 3.3 3.2 3.3 0.1 0.1
Exports 7.5 5.4 5.8 -1.7 0.4
Total 5.1 8.6 4.5 -0.6 -4.1

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/ as of March 2014.

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

 

Table 4. Top 10 States Trading with Canada by All Modes of Transportation

Ranked by 2013 Value

(millions of current dollars)

State 2012 2013 Percent Change 2012 -2013
Value Rank Value Rank
Michigan 74,863 1 74,622 1 -0.3
Illinois 58,776 2 60,095 2 2.2
California 43,076 3 45,153 3 4.8
Texas 39,752 4 40,423 4 1.7
Ohio 35,887 5 37,268 5 3.8
New York 32,159 6 33,766 6 5.0
Washington 22,106 7 23,532 7 6.4
Pennsylvania 22,568 8 23,082 8 2.3
Indiana 19,531 9 19,599 9 0.4
Minnesota 19,290 10 19,117 10 -0.9

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/ as of March 2014.

NOTE: Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 5. Modal Shares of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows

Trade by All Modes

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   2004 2012 2013 Percent Change 2004-2013 Percent Change 2012-2013
All Modes Imports 155,843 277,653 280,456 80.0 1.0
Exports 110,775 216,331 226,153 104.2 4.5
Total 266,618 493,984 506,608 90.0 2.6
Share of Total by Mode (percent of total value) Percentage Point Change 2004-2013 Percentage Point Change 2012-2013
All Surface Modes* Imports 80.3 79.1 81.0 0.7 2.0
Exports 84.0 79.5 80.5 -3.5 1.0
Total 81.8 79.2 80.8 -1.1 1.6
Truck Imports 67.3 65.7 65.9 -1.4 0.3
Exports 71.6 65.1 66.6 -5.1 1.5
Total 69.1 65.4 66.2 -2.9 0.8
Rail Imports 13.0 13.3 15.0 2.0 1.7
Exports 12.3 12.8 12.3 0.0 -0.5
Total 12.7 13.1 13.8 1.1 0.7
Pipeline Imports 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0
Exports 0.1 1.6 1.6 1.6 0.1
Total 0.0 0.7 0.8 0.7 0.0
Vessel Imports 15.9 16.3 14.3 -1.6 -2.0
Exports 6.7 13.2 12.0 5.2 -1.2
Total 12.1 15.0 13.3 1.2 -1.7
Air Imports 2.2 3.1 2.6 0.4 -0.5
Exports 5.4 3.4 3.4 -2.0 0.0
Total 3.6 3.3 3.0 -0.6 -0.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/ as of March 2014.

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

* The percentof modal share for all surface modes equals the sum of the share of the truck, rail and pipeline modes.

 

Table 6. Top 10 States Trading with Mexico by All Modes of Transportation

Ranked by 2013 Value

(millions of current dollars)

State 2012 2013 Percent Change 2012 - 2013
Value Rank Value Rank
Texas 194,653 1 195,636 1 0.5
California 62,358 2 60,174 2 -3.5
Michigan 48,599 3 52,431 3 7.9
Illinois 15,500 4 18,987 4 22.5
Arizona 13,017 5 14,113 5 8.4
Ohio 11,367 6 12,642 6 11.2
Louisiana 11,649 7 11,013 7 -5.5
Tennessee 9,194 8 10,020 8 9.0
Indiana 7,472 9 7,966 9 6.6
Georgia 6,869 10 7,882 10 14.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/ as of March 2014.

NOTE: Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 7. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, 2013

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 24,658 109,401 134,059
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 38,838 27,277 66,115
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 10,252 28,377 38,629
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 7,409 71,807 79,216
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 10,648 20,203 30,851
Air Computer Related Machinery and Parts 4,092 1,775 5,867

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/ as of March 2014.

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

 

Table 8. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, 2013

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 36,774 57,395 94,168
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 32,925 52,207 85,131
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 6,810 31,832 38,643
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 3,703 241 3,944
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 16,500 33,825 50,325
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,740 2,462 5,202

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/ as of March 2014.

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