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Trucks transported 59% of U.S.-NAFTA trade in February 2013

Press Release Number: 
BTS 20-13
Date: 
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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Figure 1.  February U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by All Modes of Transportation, 2004-2013

(February of each year)

February U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by All Modes of Transportation, 2004-2013

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Trucks carried 59.1 percent of the $88.4 billion of freight moved in February 2013 between the U.S. and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, followed by rail at 15.3 percent, vessels at 9.7 percent, pipelines at 7.7 percent and air at 3.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (Figure 3). The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.1 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows.

BTS, a part of the Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that in February, for freight flows with Canada, trucks carried 54.4 percent of the $48.9 billion, followed by rail at 17.0 percent, pipelines at 13.3 percent, vessels at 5.3 percent and air at 4.4 percent (Figure 3A and Table 4). The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.7 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

For freight flows with Mexico in February, trucks carried 64.8 percent of the $39.6 billion, followed by vessels at 15.2 percent, rail at 13.2 percent, air at 2.8 percent and pipelines at 0.8 percent (Figure 3B and Table 7). The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 78.8 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows. 

Beginning with January 2013, BTS monthly TransBorder press releases contain data for all modes of transportation. Press releases and the BTS website now define surface transportation modes as truck, rail and pipeline.  Data on surface modes can be found in Figure 3 and in Tables 2, 3, 4 and 7.  See North American Transborder Freight Data on the BTS website for additional data for surface modes since 1995 and all modes since 2004.

Figure 2.  Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows
January 2004- February 2013

Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

The value of goods moving between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners by all modes of transportation decreased by 1.0 percent from February 2012 and rose 61.8 percent from February 2009, the lowest February during the last recession (Table 3).  Goods moving by truck, pipeline, and air each declined, while rail and vessel transportation both increased from the same month last year. Data in this press release are not adjusted for inflation, except for the monthly totals illustrated in Figure 2 for comparison.

All modes of transportation cited in the following tables include freight movements by truck, rail, vessel, pipeline, air, other and unknown modes of transport.  Figure 3 below provides a breakdown by value and percentage of each mode of freight transportation used in moving goods between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners in February. The dotted slices represent surface modes, which accounted for 82.1 percent of the total. By value, truck is the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners, accounting for $27.2 billion of exports and $25.0 billion of imports.

Figure 3. U.S.-NAFTA Freight by Mode, February 2013
Current dollars, Share of total

U.S.-NAFTA Freight by Mode, February 2013

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Freight flows on all modes of transportation between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners decreased 2.3 percent in February 2013 from January 2013, measured in current dollars (Table 2).  Freight moving across the border by truck decreased by 2.7 percent, while freight moving by rail increased by 4.8 percent from one month prior. Month-to-month changes can be affected by seasonal factors such as the number of days in each month.

From February 2012 to February 2013, the value of freight carried by truck fell by 2.5 percent while the value of freight carried by rail increased 0.8 percent. For statistics by mode and individual NAFTA partner, see Table 4 for Canada and Table 7 for Mexico. 

In February, Michigan led all states in goods transported to and from Canada, at $6.0 billion (Table 5).  New York had the largest year-to-year percentage increase among the top 10 states, at 6.1 percent.  Indiana had the largest year-to-year decrease at 16.4 percent.  The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada in February was mineral fuels moved by pipeline, valued at $6.5 billion, of which $5.7 billion was imported (Table 6).

Texas continued to lead all states in goods transported to and from Mexico by all modes of transportation at $15.4 billion (Table 8).  Louisiana had the largest year-to-year percentage increase among the top 10 states, at 64.9 percent. California had the largest year-to-year decrease at 7.5 percent. The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in February was electrical machinery moved by truck, valued at $6.5 billion, of which $3.9 billion was imported (Table 9).

Additional 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 example, index values released in February 2012 were subject to revision in February, March and April of that year.

For more information, see TransBorder Press Releases  for previous press releases and summary tables. See TransBorder Freight Data for data from previous months, and individual state data.  BTS has scheduled the release of March TransBorder numbers for May 29.

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

(millions of current dollars)

Month 2011 2012 2013 Percent Change 2011-2012 Percent Change 2012-2013
January 79,608 87,490 90,512 9.9 3.5
February 77,015 89,385 88,449 16.1 -1.0
March 94,228 99,510   5.6  
April 87,097 92,199   5.9  
May 91,126 96,840   6.3  
June 90,663 94,200   3.9  
July 84,952 87,691   3.2  
August 93,450 94,593   1.2  
September 90,771 89,875   -1.0  
October 91,837 98,632   7.4  
November 90,401 94,877   5.0  
December 86,775 84,695   -2.4  
Year-to-date 156,624 176,875 178,961 12.9 1.2
Annual 1,057,924 1,109,988   4.9  

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 All Modes of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   February 2012 January 2013 February 2013 Percent Change January 2013 - February 2013 Percent Change February 2012 - 2013
All Modes Imports 49,012 49,513 47,648 -3.8 -2.8
Exports 40,373 40,999 40,801 -0.5 1.1
Total 89,385 90,512 88,449 -2.3 -1.0
All Surface Modes Imports 40,787 40,547 39,573 -2.4 -3.0
Exports 33,385 33,417 33,009 -1.2 -1.1
Total 74,172 73,965 72,582 -1.9 -2.1
Truck Imports 26,087 25,684 25,008 -2.6 -4.1
Exports 27,491 28,014 27,239 -2.8 -0.9
Total 53,578 53,698 52,247 -2.7 -2.5
Rail Imports 8,668 8,386 8,770 4.6 1.2
Exports 4,751 4,518 4,751 5.2 0.0
Total 13,419 12,904 13,521 4.8 0.8
Pipeline Imports 6,032 6,478 5,795 -10.5 -3.9
Exports 1,144 885 1,018 15.0 -11.0
Total 7,176 7,363 6,813 -7.5 -5.1
Vessel Imports 5,295 5,809 5,401 -7.0 2.0
Exports 2,475 3,020 3,199 5.9 29.2
Total 7,770 8,830 8,600 -2.6 10.7
Air Imports 1,519 1,497 1,378 -7.9 -9.2
Exports 1,962 1,955 1,849 -5.4 -5.8
Total 3,481 3,453 3,227 -6.5 -7.3

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

February 2013 Compared to February in… Percent Change
Truck Rail Pipeline Air Vessel All Modes
2012 -2.5 0.8 -5.1 -7.3 10.7 -1.0
2011 14.0 22.9 8.8 -3.6 20.6 14.8
2010 28.2 30.7 28.1 2.9 63.8 30.3
2009 52.9 94.8 80.0 6.6 132.1 61.8
2008 12.3 14.8 -3.9 1.4 38.6 12.3
2007 23.1 38.2 60.2 19.2 108.2 33.0
2006 27.6 33.2 22.5 23.1 73.6 31.3
2005 38.1 42.6 97.0 33.7 136.3 48.3
2004 52.2 58.3 133.4 36.7 189.3 65.3

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 4. Value of Monthly U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by All Modes of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   February 2012 January 2013 February 2013 Percent Change January 2013 - February 2013 Percent Change February 2012 - 2013
All Modes Imports 26,304 27,963 25,733 -8.0 -2.2
Exports 23,480 23,049 23,141 0.4 -1.4
Total 49,784 51,013 48,874 -4.2 -1.8
All Surface Modes Imports 22,903 23,570 22,215 -5.8 -3.0
Exports 19,511 18,822 19,195 2.0 -1.6
Total 42,414 42,392 41,410 -2.3 -2.4
Truck Imports 11,193 11,294 10,779 -4.6 -3.7
Exports 16,124 15,774 15,807 0.2 -2.0
Total 27,317 27,068 26,586 -1.8 -2.7
Rail Imports 5,696 5,816 5,663 -2.6 -0.6
Exports 2,581 2,431 2,648 8.9 2.6
Total 8,276 8,247 8,311 0.8 0.4
Pipeline Imports 6,015 6,460 5,773 -10.6 -4.0
Exports 807 617 739 19.8 -8.4
Total 6,821 7,078 6,512 -8.0 -4.5
Vessel Imports 1,584 2,209 1,758 -20.4 11.0
Exports 586 891 809 -9.2 38.1
Total 2,170 3,100 2,567 -17.2 18.3
Air Imports 770 893 850 -4.9 10.4
Exports 1,405 1,353 1,277 -5.6 -9.1
Total 2,175 2,246 2,127 -5.3 -2.2

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 5. Top 10 State Freight Flows with Canada by All Modes of Transportation

Ranked by February 2013 Trade Value

(millions of current dollars)

State February 2012 February 2013 Percent Change February 2012- 2013
Value Rank Value Rank
Michigan 6,055 1 6,035 1 -0.3
Illinois 5,215 2 4,709 2 -9.7
Texas 3,115 3 3,172 3 1.8
California 3,028 4 3,095 4 2.2
Ohio 2,996 5 2,790 5 -6.9
New York 2,432 6 2,581 6 6.1
Washington 1,927 7 1,743 7 -9.5
Pennsylvania 1,839 8 1,718 8 -6.6
Indiana 1,611 10 1,531 9 -4.9
Minnesota 1,655 9 1,383 10 -16.4

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 3,179 2,085 5,264
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 831 2,330 3,161
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 739 5,749 6,488
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 650 1652 2,302
Air Computer-Related Machinery and Parts 324 138 462

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 7. Value of Monthly U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by All Modes of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   February 2012 January 2013 February 2013 Percent Change January 2013 - February 2013 Percent Change February 2012 - 2013
All Modes Imports 22,708 21,550 21,915 1.7 -3.5
Exports 16,893 17,949 17,660 -1.6 4.5
Total 39,601 39,499 39,574 0.2 -0.1
All Surface Modes Imports 17,884 16,977 17,358 2.2 -2.9
Exports 13,874 14,595 13,814 -5.4 -0.4
Total 31,758 31,573 31,172 -1.3 -1.8
Truck Imports 14,894 14,389 14,229 -1.1 -4.5
Exports 11,367 12,241 11,432 -6.6 0.6
Total 26,261 26,630 25,660 -3.6 -2.3
Rail Imports 2,972 2,570 3,107 20.9 4.5
Exports 2,170 2,087 2,103 0.8 -3.1
Total 5,143 4,657 5,210 11.9 1.3
Pipeline Imports 18 18 22 26.5 25.2
Exports 337 268 279 4.1 -17.2
Total 355 286 301 5.5 -15.1
Vessel Imports 3,710 3,600 3,642 1.2 -1.8
Exports 1,889 2,129 2,390 12.2 26.5
Total 5,600 5,730 6,032 5.3 7.7
Air Imports 749 604 529 -12.5 -29.4
Exports 557 602 572 -5.1 2.8
Total 1,306 1,207 1,101 -8.8 -15.7

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 8. Top 10 State Freight Flows with Mexico by All Modes of Transportation

Ranked by February 2013 Trade Value

(millions of current dollars)

State February 2012 February 2013 Percent Change February 2012- 2013
Value Rank Value Rank
Texas 15,526 1 15,447 1 -0.5
California 4,857 2 4,494 2 -7.5
Michigan 3,905 3 3,848 3 -1.5
Illinois 1,352 4 1,443 4 6.8
Arizona 1,194 5 1,174 5 -1.7
Louisiana 705 8 1,163 6 64.9
Ohio 920 6 984 7 7.0
Tennessee 750 7 776 8 3.5
Indiana 642 10 627 9 -2.3
North Carolina 596 11 601 10 0.74

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,595 3,940 6,534
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 505 2,386 2,892
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 279 22 301
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,480 3142 4,622
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 219 136 356

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

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