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2015 North American Freight Numbers

Press Release Number: 
BTS 17-16
Date: 
Friday, March 18, 2016
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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Figure 1: U.S.-NAFTA Merchandise Trade by Mode: 2011-2015

Table Version | Excel

Figure 1: U.S.-NAFTA Merchandise Trade by Mode: 2011-2015

All five major transportation modes – truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air – carried less U.S. freight with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico by value in 2015 than in 2014. The total value of cross-border freight carried on all modes fell 7.2 percent from 2014 to $1.1 trillion in current dollars, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Figure 1 and Table 1).

The value of commodities moving by truck declined 0.4 percent, the smallest decrease from 2014 to 2015 of any mode, 0.4 percent. The value of freight on other modes also declined: air 1.8 percent; rail 7.1 percent; vessel 29.7 percent; and pipeline 39.4 percent. A drop in the price of crude oil in 2015 played a key role in the large declines in the dollar value of goods shipped by vessel and pipeline. Average monthly prices for crude petroleum and refined fuel are available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The 7.2 percent decline in the value cross-border freight from 2014 to 2015 was almost entirely due to the decline in crude oil and petroleum prices. The value of petroleum-related commodity shipments declined almost 40 percent year-over-year while the value of other freight dropped 0.9 percent. In 2015, petroleum-related commodities comprised 10.8 percent of the total value of U.S. North American freight, down from 16.6 percent in 2014. Some data used to calculate the percentages in this paragraph comes from US International Trade Commission Interactive Tariff and Trade Data, which allows the separation of petroleum and non-petroleum components of mineral fuels.

Figure 2: North American Freight by Mode, 2015

Table Version | Excel

 

Figure 2: North American Freight by Mode, 2015

Freight by Mode

Trucks carried 64.3 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight, a 2.2 percentage point increase from 2005, and continued to be the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $359.8 billion of the $589.9 billion of imports (61.0 percent) and for $351.9 billion of the $516.4 billion of exports (68.2 percent) (Table 1).

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 14.9 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 6.6 percent; pipeline, 5.2 percent and air, 3.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.4 percent of the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows (Figure 2, Table 1).

During the last decade, rail’s percentage share rose 0.2 points while pipeline fell 1.4 points (Table 1). 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. See North American Transborder Freight Data  for historic data.

Freight with Canada

From 2014 to 2015, the value of U.S.-Canada freight flows fell 12.6 percent to $575.2 billion. Trucks carried 58.3 percent of the value of the freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 15.7 percent; pipeline, 9.3 percent; vessel, 4.9 percent; and air, 4.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.3 percent of the value of total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 2).

Trucks carried 58.3 percent of U.S.-Canada freight in 2015, a 0.8 percentage point decrease from 2005. Truck’s share of imports decreased 0.2 percentage points from 2005, while air’s percent share of imports rose 0.7 points and pipeline fell 1.0 points (Table 2).

Michigan led all states in freight with Canada in 2015 with $69.1 billion. Of the top 10 states for U.S.-Canada freight in 2015, Tennessee had the smallest percent decrease over 2014, a 1.3 percent decrease. Illinois had the largest percent decrease over 2014 among the top 10 states, a 29.7 percent decrease (Table 3).

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada in 2015 was vehicles and vehicle parts (other than railway vehicles and parts) at $103.0 billion with $61.8 billion or 60.0 percent moved by truck (Table 6).

Freight with Mexico

From 2014 to 2015, the value of U.S.-Mexico freight fell 0.6 percent to $531.1 billion. Trucks carried 70.9 percent of the value of the freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 14.1 percent; vessel, 8.5 percent; air, 3.1 percent; and pipeline, 0.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.7 percent of the value of total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 4).

Trucks carried 70.9 percent of U.S.-Canada freight in 2015, a 3.5 percentage point increase from 2005. Truck’s share of imports increased 6.3 percentage points from 2005 while vessel’s percentage share of imports fell 10.5 points (Table 4).

Texas led all states in freight with Mexico in 2015 with $178.0 billion. Of the top 10 states for U.S.-Mexico freight in 2015, Pennsylvania had the highest percent change over 2014, a 15.7 percent increase (Table 5). 

The top commodity transported between the U.S. and Mexico in 2015 was electrical machinery at $103.8 billion, an increase of 7.5 percent from 2014, with $95.4 billion or 91.9 percent moved by trucks. The next highest commodity category transported by a single mode in U.S.-Mexico freight was vehicles and vehicle parts (other than railway vehicles and parts) with $41.7 billion in freight moved by rail (Table 7).

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 for 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 24.

 

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

Trade by All Modes

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   2005 2014 2015 Percent Change 2005-2015 Percent Change 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 458,068 640,220 589,931 28.8 -7.9
Exports 331,469 552,451 516,394 55.8 -6.5
Total 789,537 1,192,671 1,106,325 40.1 -7.2
Mode   Share of Total by Mode (percent of total value) Percentage Point Change 2005-2015 Percentage Point Change 2014-2015
2005 2014 2015
All Surface Modes Imports 84.3 84.5 87.3 3.0 2.8
Exports 82.2 80.6 81.1 -1.1 0.5
Total 83.4 82.7 84.4 1.0 1.7
Truck Imports 55.9 54.5 61.0 5.1 6.5
Exports 70.8 66.2 68.2 -2.6 1.9
Total 62.1 59.9 64.3 2.2 4.4
Rail Imports 17.8 17.7 18.4 0.6 0.6
Exports 10.6 11.7 11.0 0.4 -0.6
Total 14.8 14.9 14.9 0.2 0.0
Pipeline Imports 10.6 12.3 8.0 -2.7 -4.4
Exports 0.9 2.7 1.9 1.1 -0.8
Total 6.5 7.9 5.2 -1.4 -2.7
Vessel Imports 9.8 9.2 6.4 -3.4 -2.8
Exports 4.1 8.1 6.8 2.7 -1.3
Total 7.4 8.7 6.6 -0.8 -2.1
Air Imports 2.7 2.9 3.0 0.3 0.1
Exports 6.2 4.6 5.0 -1.3 0.4
Total 4.2 3.7 3.9 -0.3 0.2

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/ as of February 2016.

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

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

 

Table 2. Modal Shares of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows

Trade by All Modes

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   2005 2014 2015 Percent Change 2005-2015 Percent Change 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 287,870 346,063 295,190 2.5 -14.7
Exports 211,420 312,125 280,017 32.4 -10.3
Total 499,291 658,188 575,207 15.2 -12.6
Mode   Share of Total by Mode (percent of total value) Percentage Point Change 2005-2015 Percentage Point Change 2014-2015
2005 2014 2015
All Surface Modes Imports 87.9 85.9 86.7 -1.2 0.8
Exports 81.8 80.1 79.7 -2.1 -0.4
Total 85.3 83.1 83.3 -2.0 0.2
Truck Imports 49.9 43.1 49.7 -0.2 6.6
Exports 71.5 65.6 67.3 -4.2 1.7
Total 59.1 53.8 58.3 -0.8 4.5
Rail Imports 21.1 20.0 21.1 0.1 1.1
Exports 9.1 11.1 10.1 0.9 -1.1
Total 16.0 15.8 15.7 -0.3 -0.1
Pipeline Imports 16.9 22.8 15.8 -1.1 -6.9
Exports 1.1 3.3 2.3 1.2 -1.0
Total 10.2 13.5 9.3 -1.0 -4.3
Vessel Imports 4.9 6.0 5.1 0.3 -0.9
Exports 2.0 5.7 4.6 2.6 -1.1
Total 3.7 5.9 4.9 1.2 -1.0
Air Imports 2.9 3.3 3.7 0.7 0.4
Exports 6.7 5.4 5.7 -1.0 0.3
Total 4.6 4.3 4.7 0.1 0.4

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/ as of February 2016.

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

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

 

Table 3. Top 10 States Trading with Canada by All Modes of Transportation

Ranked by 2015 Value

(millions of current dollars)

State 2014 2015 Percent Change 2014 -2015
Value Rank Value Rank
Michigan 74,249 1 69,059 1 -7.0
Illinois 67,086 2 47,166 2 -29.7
California 46,129 4 44,783 3 -2.9
Texas 48,551 3 41,311 4 -14.9
Ohio 37,785 5 33,913 5 -10.3
New York 34,168 6 30,413 6 -11.0
Pennsylvania 24,707 8 22,302 7 -9.7
Washington 25,264 7 21,548 8 -14.7
Indiana 20,338 9 18,819 9 -7.5
Tennessee 14,595 12 14,406 10 -1.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transborder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/ as of February 2016.

NOTE: Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 4. Modal Shares of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows

Trade by All Modes

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   2005 2014 2015 Percent Change 2005-2015 Percent Change 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 170,198 294,157 294,741 73.2 0.2
Exports 120,049 240,326 236,377 96.9 -1.6
Total 290,247 534,484 531,118 83.0 -0.6
Mode   Share of Total by Mode (percent of total value) Percentage Point Change 2005-2015 Percentage Point Change 2014-2015
2005 2014 2015
All Surface Modes Imports 78.2 82.9 88.0 9.8 5.1
Exports 83.0 81.3 82.7 -0.2 1.4
Total 80.2 82.2 85.7 5.5 3.5
Truck Imports 66.0 67.9 72.3 6.3 4.4
Exports 69.4 67.0 69.1 -0.3 2.1
Total 67.4 67.5 70.9 3.5 3.4
Rail Imports 12.2 15.0 15.6 3.4 0.6
Exports 13.1 12.3 12.1 -1.0 -0.2
Total 12.6 13.8 14.1 1.5 0.3
Pipeline Imports 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0
Exports 0.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 -0.5
Total 0.2 0.9 0.7 0.5 -0.2
Vessel Imports 18.2 13.0 7.7 -10.5 -5.3
Exports 7.8 11.3 9.4 1.7 -1.8
Total 13.9 12.2 8.5 -5.4 -3.7
Air Imports 2.3 2.4 2.2 0.0 -0.1
Exports 5.4 3.6 4.1 -1.2 0.5
Total 3.6 2.9 3.1 -0.5 0.2

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/ as of February 2016.

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

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

 

Table 5. Top 10 States Trading with Mexico by All Modes of Transportation

Ranked by 2015 Value

(millions of current dollars)

State 2014 2015 Percent Change 2014 -2015
Value Rank Value Rank
Texas 192,761 1 177,997 1 -7.7
California 66,669 2 71,889 2 7.8
Michigan 53,283 3 55,009 3 3.2
Illinois 21,272 4 22,195 4 4.3
Arizona 15,943 5 16,760 5 5.1
Ohio 13,797 6 14,683 6 6.4
Tennessee 11,486 7 11,995 7 4.4
Indiana 10,153 9 10,059 8 -0.9
Georgia 9,049 10 9,732 9 7.5
Pennsylvania 7,254 14 8,392 10 15.7

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transborder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/ as of February 2016.

NOTE: Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 6. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, 2015

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Vehicles Other than Railway 47,594 55,403 102,997
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 33,939 27,857 61,796
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 11,118 27,460 38,578
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 6,390 46,554 52,943
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 11,042 12,163 23,205
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 3,537 1,649 5,185

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/ as of February 2016.

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

 

Table 7. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, 2015

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 41,086 62,692 103,778
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 36,840 58,571 95,410
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 7,680 34,017 41,697
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 3,460 221 3,681
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 13,065 13,200 26,265
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 3,063 2,059 5,122

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/ as of February 2016.

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