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February 2015 North American Freight Numbers

Press Release Number: 
BTS 19-15
Date: 
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

PDF | Excel

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

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $85.7 billion in February 2015 as two out of five transportation modes – air and truck – carried more U.S.-NAFTA freight than in February 2014, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released today by theU.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Figure 1, Table 1). The $85.7 billion total is the lowest February value for U.S.-NAFTA freight since 2011. Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows by all modes decreased by 4.3 percent. The value of NAFTA trade by pipeline and vessel declined in February due to the reduced unit price of mineral fuel shipments.

Freight by Mode

In February 2015 compared to February 2014, the value of commodities moving by air grew by the largest percentage of any mode, 4.5 percent. Truck freight increased by 0.9 percent (Figure 1, Table 2). Rail freight decreased by 6.2 percent. Pipeline freight decreased by 22.8 percent and vessel freight decreased by 29.0 mainly due to the lower unit price of mineral fuel shipments.

Trucks carried 63.1 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 $26.9 billion of the $45.7 billion of imports (58.9 percent) and $27.2 billion of the $40.0 billion of exports (67.9 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 14.4 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 7.1 percent; pipeline, 6.1 percent; and air, 3.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.7 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:
February 2014 - February 2015

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

U.S.-Canada freight totaled $45.1 billion in February 2015 as only one out of five transportation modes –air– carried more U.S.-Canada freight than in February 2014. Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Canada trade by air increased by 3.0 percent. Truck freight decreased by 2.9 percent and rail decreased by 13.3 percent. Pipeline freight decreased by 22.8 percent and vessel decreased by 26.5 percent, mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices (Figure 2, Table 3).

Trucks carried 57.2 percent of the $45.1 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 14.6 percent; pipeline, 11.0 percent; vessel, 4.9 percent and air, 4.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.9 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:
February 2014 - February 2015

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

U.S.-Mexico freight totaled $40.6 billion in February 2015 as three out of five transportation modes –air, truck, and rail– carried more U.S.-Mexico freight than in February 2014. Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Mexico air freight rose 7.4 percent, the largest percentage increase of any mode. Freight carried by truck increased by 4.7 percent and rail freight increased by 3.3 percent. Pipeline freight decreased by 23.1 percent and vessel freight decreased by 30.4 percent, mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices (Figure 3, Table 5).

Trucks carried 69.6 percent of the $40.6 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 14.2 percent; vessel, 9.5 percent; air, 2.9 percent; and pipeline, 0.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.5 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 5).

Commodities
In February 2015, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $4.9 billion, or 58.2 percent, moved by pipeline (Table 4). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in February 2015 was vehicles, of which $3.6 billion, or 49.3 percent, moved by truck (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 March TransBorder numbers for May 28.

 

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 85,723 0.7 -4.3
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 179,659 179,883 174,982 0.1 -2.7
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   February 2014 February 2015 Percent Change February 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 47,721 45,734 -4.2
Exports 41,835 39,990 -4.4
Total 89,557 85,723 -4.3
All Surface Modes Imports 40,094 39,268 -2.1
Exports 33,503 32,456 -3.1
Total 73,596 71,724 -2.5
Truck Imports 25,797 26,933 4.4
Exports 27,793 27,162 -2.3
Total 53,590 54,094 0.9
Rail Imports 8,540 7,966 -6.7
Exports 4,646 4,396 -5.4
Total 13,186 12,362 -6.2
Pipeline Imports 5,756 4,369 -24.1
Exports 1,064 898 -15.6
Total 6,820 5,267 -22.8
Vessel Imports 4,851 3,370 -30.5
Exports 3,720 2,716 -27.0
Total 8,571 6,086 -29.0
Air Imports 1,284 1,397 8.7
Exports 1,842 1,870 1.5
Total 3,127 3,267 4.5

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   February 2014 February 2015 Percent Change February 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 25,401 23,258 -8.4
Exports 23,487 21,863 -6.9
Total 48,888 45,120 -7.7
All Surface Modes Imports 21,846 19,851 -9.1
Exports 18,802 17,553 -6.6
Total 40,648 37,404 -8.0
Truck Imports 10,954 11,034 0.7
Exports 15,646 14,796 -5.4
Total 26,600 25,830 -2.9
Rail Imports 5,152 4,454 -13.6
Exports 2,453 2,144 -12.6
Total 7,605 6,597 -13.3
Pipeline Imports 5,740 4,363 -24.0
Exports 702 613 -12.7
Total 6,442 4,976 -22.8
Vessel Imports 1,671 1,338 -19.9
Exports 1,347 882 -34.6
Total 3,018 2,219 -26.5
Air Imports 810 876 8.2
Exports 1,238 1,233 -0.4
Total 2,048 2,109 3.0

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, February 2015

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,743 6,753 8,496
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 2,542 2,010 4,551
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 786 1,596 2,381
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 597 4,344 4,941
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 819 1,149 1,968
Air Aircraft; Spacecraft and Parts 213 198 411

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   February 2014 February 2015 Percent Change February 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 22,321 22,476 0.7
Exports 18,348 18,127 -1.2
Total 40,669 40,603 -0.2
All Surface Modes Imports 18,247 19,417 6.4
Exports 14,701 14,903 1.4
Total 32,948 34,320 4.2
Truck Imports 14,843 15,899 7.1
Exports 12,147 12,365 1.8
Total 26,989 28,264 4.7
Rail Imports 3,388 3,512 3.7
Exports 2,193 2,252 2.7
Total 5,581 5,765 3.3
Pipeline Imports 16 6 -63.5
Exports 362 285 -21.3
Total 378 291 -23.1
Vessel Imports 3,180 2,032 -36.1
Exports 2,373 1,834 -22.7
Total 5,553 3,866 -30.4
Air Imports 474 520 9.7
Exports 604 637 5.5
Total 1,078 1,158 7.4

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Vehicles Other than Railway 1,692 5,611 7,303
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,625 3,960 6,585
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 545 2,624 3,169
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 285 6 291
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 993 1,247 2,240
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 215 131 347

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

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