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Two of Five Modes Carried More U.S.-NAFTA Trade in February 2014 than in February 2013

Press Release Number: 
BTS 21-14
Date: 
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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Figure 1.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: 
February 2013 - February 2014

Table Version | Excel

Figure 1.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode:  February 2013 - February 2014

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data
NOTE: Pipeline percent change was 0.1 percent.

Two of five transportation modes – truck and pipeline – carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in February 2014 than in February 2013, according to the TransBorder freight data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Table 1).

Trade using truck grew the most of any mode, 2.6 percent, as the value of overall U.S. trade with its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico rose 1.3 percent from year to year (Table 2). 

Trade by Mode
While trade by truck rose 2.6 percent, trade using other modes declined 0.6 percent from year to year. Air declined 3.1 percent, rail declined 2.5 percent and vessel declined 0.3 percent. Pipeline rose 0.1 percent. (Figure 1, Table 2).

Truck carries nearly three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade and is the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Truck carried 59.8 percent of the $89.6 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in February 2014, accounting for $27.8 billion of exports and $25.8 billion of imports.  

The value of freight carried by rail decreased from year to year but rail was still the second largest mode, at 14.7 percent, followed by vessel at 9.6 percent, pipeline at 7.6 percent and air at 3.5 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.2 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows (Table 2).

Trade with Canada
Year to year, the value of U.S.-Canada trade by vessel increased the most of any mode, growing 17.6 percent.  Vessel freight exports to Canada increased 66.5 percent due to an increase in exports of mineral fuels.  Meanwhile, U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline decreased by 1.1 percent.   U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 94.5 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in February (Figure 2, Tables 2, 4).

Truck carried 54.4 percent of the $48.9 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail at 15.6 percent, pipeline at 13.2 percent, vessel at 6.2 percent and air at 4.2 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.1 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 4).

Figure 2.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode:
February 2013 - February 2014

Table Version | Excel

Figure 2.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode: February 2013 - February 2014

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data
NOTE: percent change were 0.029 and 0.053 percent, respectively.

Trade with Mexico
Year-to-year, the value of trade by pipeline increased the most of any mode, growing 25.5 percent, but pipeline trade remained less than 1 percent of total U.S.-Mexico trade (Table 6).  Trade using rail rose 7.1 percent while truck freight increased 5.2 percent.  Freight moved by vessel declined 7.9 percent while air freight decreased 2.0 percent (Figure 3).   

Truck carried 66.4 percent of the $40.7 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by vessel at 13.7 percent, rail at 13.7 percent, air at 2.7 percent and pipelines at 0.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.0 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 6).

Figure 3.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode:
February 2013 - February 2014

Table Version | Excel

Figure 3.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode: February 2013 - February 2014

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Commodities
In February 2014, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $6.4 billion, or 56.3 percent, moved by pipeline (Table 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in February 2014 was electrical machinery, of which $6.3 billion, or 91.4 percent, moved by truck (Table 7). 

Reporting Notes
Beginning with February 2013, BTS monthly TransBorder press releases contain data for all modes of transportation. 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 29.

 

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

(millions of current dollars)

Month 2012 2013 2014 Percent Change 2012-2013 Percent Change 2013-2014
January 87,490 90,512 90,326 3.5 -0.2
February 89,385 88,449 89,557 -1.0 1.3
March 99,510 95,566   -4.0  
April 92,199 98,984   7.4  
May 96,840 98,577   1.8  
June 94,200 93,483   -0.8  
July 87,691 93,192   6.3  
August 94,593 96,526   2.0  
September 89,875 94,350   5.0  
October 98,632 103,089   4.5  
November 94,877 96,120   1.3  
December 84,695 90,083   6.4  
Annual 1,109,988 1,138,931   2.6  

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 2013 February 2014 Percent Change February 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 47,648 47,721 0.2
Exports 40,801 41,835 2.5
Total 88,449 89,557 1.3
All Surface Modes Imports 39,573 40,094 1.3
Exports 33,009 33,503 1.5
Total 72,582 73,596 1.4
Truck Imports 25,008 25,797 3.2
Exports 27,239 27,793 2.0
Total 52,247 53,590 2.6
Rail Imports 8,770 8,540 -2.6
Exports 4,751 4,646 -2.2
Total 13,521 13,186 -2.5
Pipeline Imports 5,795 5,756 -0.7
Exports 1,018 1,064 4.5
Total 6,813 6,820 0.1
Vessel Imports 5,401 4,851 -10.2
Exports 3,199 3,720 16.3
Total 8,600 8,571 -0.3
Air Imports 1,378 1,284 -6.8
Exports 1,849 1,842 -0.3
Total 3,227 3,127 -3.1

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 2014 Compared to February in... Percent Change
Truck Rail Pipeline Air Vessel All Modes
2013 2.6 -2.5 0.1 -3.1 -0.3 1.3
2012 0.0 -1.7 -5.0 -10.2 10.3 0.2
2011 16.9 19.9 8.9 -6.6 20.2 16.3
2010 31.5 27.4 28.2 -0.3 63.3 31.9
2009 56.8 90.0 80.2 3.3 131.3 63.8
2008 15.2 11.9 -3.8 -1.7 38.1 13.7
2007 26.3 34.7 60.4 15.5 107.5 34.7
2006 30.8 29.9 22.6 19.3 73.0 32.9
2005 41.6 39.1 97.2 29.6 135.5 50.2
2004 56.1 54.4 133.6 32.5 188.4 67.4

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   February 2013 February 2014 Percent Change February 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 25,733 25,401 -1.3
Exports 23,141 23,487 1.5
Total 48,874 48,888 0.0
All Surface Modes Imports 22,215 21,846 -1.7
Exports 19,195 18,802 -2.0
Total 41,410 40,648 -1.8
Truck Imports 10,779 10,954 1.6
Exports 15,807 15,646 -1.0
Total 26,586 26,600 0.1
Rail Imports 5,663 5,152 -9.0
Exports 2,648 2,453 -7.3
Total 8,311 7,605 -8.5
Pipeline Imports 5,773 5,740 -0.6
Exports 739 702 -5.0
Total 6,512 6,442 -1.1
Vessel Imports 1,758 1,671 -5.0
Exports 809 1,347 66.5
Total 2,567 3,018 17.6
Air Imports 850 810 -4.7
Exports 1,277 1,238 -3.0
Total 2,127 2,048 -3.7

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 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, February 2014

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 2,549 8,855 11,405
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 2,980 2,244 5,224
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 771 1,911 2,682
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 697 5,726 6,423
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,272 1,523 2,795
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 306 129 434

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 6. Value of Monthly U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   February 2013 February 2014 Percent Change February 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 21,915 22,321 1.9
Exports 17,660 18,348 3.9
Total 39,574 40,669 2.8
All Surface Modes Imports 17,358 18,247 5.1
Exports 13,814 14,701 6.4
Total 31,172 32,948 5.7
Truck Imports 14,229 14,843 4.3
Exports 11,432 12,147 6.3
Total 25,660 26,989 5.2
Rail Imports 3,107 3,388 9.1
Exports 2,103 2,193 4.2
Total 5,210 5,581 7.1
Pipeline Imports 22 16 -27.6
Exports 279 362 29.8
Total 301 378 25.5
Vessel Imports 3,642 3,180 -12.7
Exports 2,390 2,373 -0.7
Total 6,032 5,553 -7.9
Air Imports 529 474 -10.3
Exports 572 604 5.6
Total 1,101 1,078 -2.0

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 7. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, February 2014

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,839 4,030 6,869
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,530 3,746 6,275
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 503 2,540 3,043
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 362 16 378
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,443 2,661 4,104
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 216 138 354

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

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