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January 2015 North American Freight Numbers

Press Release Number: 
BTS 16-15
Date: 
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

PDF | Excel

Figure 1. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode:
January 2014 - January 2015

Table Version | Excel

Figure 1. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: January 2014 - January 2015

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $89.3 billion in January 2015 as three out of five transportation modes – rail, truck, and air – carried more U.S.-NAFTA freight than in January 2014, 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). Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows by all modes decreased by 1.2 percent. The value of NAFTA trade by pipeline and vessel declined in January due to the reduced unit price of mineral fuel shipments.

Freight by Mode

In January 2015 compared to January 2014, the value of commodities moving by rail grew by the largest percentage of any mode, 4.8 percent. Truck freight increased by 3.6 percent and air rose by 1.3 percent (Figure 1, Table 2). Vessel freight decreased by 21.8 percent and pipeline freight decreased by 22.5 percent mainly due to lower unit price of mineral fuel shipments.

Trucks carried 62.3 percent 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 $27.4 billion of the $47.5 billion of imports (57.7 percent) and $28.2 billion of the $41.8 billion of exports (67.6 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 14.5 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 7.8 percent; pipeline, 6.6 percent; and air, 3.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.4 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:
January 2014 - January 2015

Table Version | Excel

Figure 2. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode: January 2014 - January 2015

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

U.S.-Canada freight totaled $48.1 billion in January 2015 as three out of five transportation modes –air, truck, and rail– carried more U.S.-Canada freight than in January 2014. Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Canada trade by air increased the most of any mode, growing by 3.4 percent. Truck freight increased by 2.7 percent and rail rose by 1.8 percent. Vessel freight decreased by 19.0 percent and pipeline decreased by 22.5 percent, mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices (Figure 2, Table 3).

Trucks carried 55.0 percent of the $48.1 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 15.7 percent; pipeline, 11.6 percent; vessel, 5.8 percent and air, 4.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.4 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:
January 2014 - January 2015

Table Version | Excel

Figure 3. Percent Change in Value of U.S.Mexico Freight Flows by Mode: January 2014 - January 2015

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

U.S.-Mexico freight totaled $41.2 billion in January 2015 as two out of five transportation modes –rail and truck– carried more U.S.-Mexico freight than in January 2014.  Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Mexico rail freight rose 9.4 percent, the largest percentage increase of any mode. Freight carried by truck increased by 4.4 percent. Air freight decreased by 2.6 percent. Pipeline freight decreased by 23.1 percent and vessel freight decreased by 23.5 percent, mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices (Figure 3, Table 5).

Trucks carried 70.8 percent of the $41.2 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 13.1 percent; vessel, 10.1 percent; air, 2.8 percent; and pipeline, 0.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.6 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 5).

Commodities

In January 2015, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $5.6 billion, or 56.5 percent, moved by pipeline (Table 4). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in January 2015 was electrical machinery, of which $7.0 billion, or 92.2 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 February TransBorder numbers for April 23.

 

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

(millions of current dollars)

Month 2013 2014 2015 Percent Change 2013-2014 Percent Change 2014-2015
January 90,766 90,326 89,258 -0.5 -1.2
February 88,894 89,557   0.7  
March 95,757 101,478   6.0  
April 98,956 100,141   1.2  
May 98,742 103,942   5.3  
June 93,502 102,978   10.1  
July 93,080 101,075   8.6  
August 96,426 100,624   4.4  
September 94,465 102,245   8.2  
October 103,140 108,243   4.9  
November 96,136 96,252   0.1  
December 90,906 95,811   5.4  
Year-to-date 90,766 90,326 89,258 -0.5 -1.2
Annual 1,140,770 1,192,671   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   January 2014 January 2015 Percent Change January 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 48,611 47,467 -2.4
Exports 41,715 41,792 0.2
Total 90,326 89,258 -1.2
All Surface Modes Imports 40,287 40,690 1.0
Exports 33,369 33,789 1.3
Total 73,656 74,479 1.1
Truck Imports 25,683 27,405 6.7
Exports 28,022 28,234 0.8
Total 53,705 55,638 3.6
Rail Imports 8,045 8,380 4.2
Exports 4,321 4,582 6.0
Total 12,366 12,962 4.8
Pipeline Imports 6,559 4,905 -25.2
Exports 1,027 974 -5.1
Total 7,585 5,878 -22.5
Vessel Imports 5,203 3,725 -28.4
Exports 3,683 3,227 -12.4
Total 8,886 6,953 -21.8
Air Imports 1,398 1,435 2.6
Exports 2,014 2,022 0.4
Total 3,413 3,456 1.3

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   January 2014 January 2015 Percent Change January 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 26,707 25,405 -4.9
Exports 22,568 22,648 0.4
Total 49,276 48,053 -2.5
All Surface Modes Imports 22,600 21,634 -4.3
Exports 17,789 17,971 1.0
Total 40,388 39,605 -1.9
Truck Imports 10,782 11,370 5.5
Exports 14,962 15,078 0.8
Total 25,744 26,448 2.7
Rail Imports 5,277 5,372 1.8
Exports 2,155 2,193 1.8
Total 7,433 7,566 1.8
Pipeline Imports 6,541 4,892 -25.2
Exports 671 700 4.3
Total 7,212 5,591 -22.5
Vessel Imports 1,924 1,601 -16.8
Exports 1,543 1,209 -21.7
Total 3,467 2,810 -19.0
Air Imports 888 941 6.0
Exports 1,322 1,344 1.7
Total 2,210 2,285 3.4

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, January 2015

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 2,163 7,679 9,842
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 2,388 2,234 4,622
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 595 1,986 2,580
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 682 4,876 5,559
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,069 1,333 2,402
Air Aircraft; Spacecraft and Parts 254 212 466

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   January 2014 January 2015 Percent Change January 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 21,903 22,062 0.7
Exports 19,147 19,144 0.0
Total 41,050 41,205 0.4
All Surface Modes Imports 17,687 19,056 7.7
Exports 15,581 15,818 1.5
Total 33,268 34,874 4.8
Truck Imports 14,902 16,034 7.6
Exports 13,060 13,156 0.7
Total 27,962 29,190 4.4
Rail Imports 2,768 3,008 8.7
Exports 2,165 2,388 10.3
Total 4,933 5,396 9.4
Pipeline Imports 18 13 -27.3
Exports 355 274 -22.9
Total 373 287 -23.1
Vessel Imports 3,279 2,124 -35.2
Exports 2,140 2,019 -5.6
Total 5,419 4,143 -23.5
Air Imports 510 493 -3.2
Exports 692 678 -2.1
Total 1,202 1,171 -2.6

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, January 2015

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 3,298 4,324 7,621
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,977 4,046 7,023
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 501 2,144 2,645
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 274 13 287
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,272 1,478 2,751
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 221 140 362

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

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