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Trucks Transported 60% of U.S.-NAFTA Trade in March 2013

Press Release Number: 
BTS 25-13
Date: 
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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Figure 1.  March U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by All Modes of Transportation
2004-2013
(March of each year)

Figure 1.  March U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by All Modes of Transportation

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Trucks carried 60.0 percent of the $95.6 billion of freight moved in March 2013 between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, followed by rail at 16.5 percent, vessels at 8.1 percent, pipelines at 7.0 percent and air at 3.7 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 83.5 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows.

BTS, a part of the Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that in March, for freight flows with Canada, trucks carried 55.1 percent of the $54.3 billion, followed by rail at 17.9 percent, pipelines at 11.6 percent, vessels at 4.6 percent and air at 4.4 percent (Table 4). The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.6 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

For freight flows with Mexico in March, trucks carried 66.5 percent of the $41.2 billion, followed by rail at 14.8 percent, vessel at 12.7 percent, air at 2.7 percent and pipelines at 0.8 percent (Table 7). The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.0 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-March 2013

Figure 2.  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 4.0 percent from March 2012 and rose 63.7 percent from March 2009 (Table 3).  Goods moving by truck, pipeline, vessel, and air each declined, while rail freight 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.

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.  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 March. The dotted slices represent surface modes, which accounted for 83.5 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 $29.6 billion of exports and $27.7 billion of imports.

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

Figure 3. U.S.-NAFTA Freight by Mode, March 2013

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Freight flows on all modes of transportation between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners increased 8.0 percent in March 2013 from February 2013, measured in current dollars (Table 2).  Freight moving across the border by truck increased by 9.7 percent, while freight moving by rail increased by 17.0 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 March 2012 to March 2013, the value of freight carried by truck fell by 4.1 percent while the value of freight carried by rail increased 7.8 percent. For statistics by mode and individual NAFTA partner, see Table 4 for Canada and Table 7 for Mexico. 

In March, Michigan led all states in goods transported to and from Canada, at $6.5 billion (Table 5).  Washington had the largest year-to-year percentage increase among the top 10 states, at 25.6 percent.  Illinois had the largest year-to-year decrease at 16.0 percent.  The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada in March was vehicles (other than railway) moved by truck, valued at $6.0 billion, of which $3.6 billion was exported (Table 6).

Texas continued to lead all states in goods transported to and from Mexico by all modes of transportation at $15.7 billion (Table 8).  Louisiana had the largest year-to-year percentage increase among the top 10 states, at 25.0 percent. California had the largest year-to-year decrease at 11.7 percent. The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in March was electrical machinery moved by truck, valued at $7.0 billion, of which $4.4 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 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 April TransBorder numbers for June 26.

 

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 95,566 5.6 -4.0
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 250,852 276,386 274,527 10.2 -0.7
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 Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   March 2012 February 2013 March 2013 Percent Change February 2013- March 2013 Percent Change March 2012 - 2013
All Modes Imports 54,356 47,648 51,542 8.2 -5.2
Exports 45,155 40,801 44,024 7.9 -2.5
Total 99,510 88,449 95,566 8.0 -4.0
All Surface Modes Imports 44,684 39,573 43,845 10.8 -1.9
Exports 37,028 33,009 35,954 8.9 -2.9
Total 81,712 72,582 79,799 9.9 -2.3
Truck Imports 28,932 25,008 27,711 10.8 -4.2
Exports 30,826 27,239 29,619 8.7 -3.9
Total 59,758 52,247 57,330 9.7 -4.1
Rail Imports 9,352 8,770 10,377 18.3 11.0
Exports 5,313 4,751 5,438 14.5 2.4
Total 14,665 13,521 15,815 17.0 7.8
Pipeline Imports 6,400 5,795 5,757 -0.7 -10.0
Exports 889 1,018 897 -11.9 0.9
Total 7,289 6,813 6,654 -2.3 -8.7
Vessel Imports 6,536 5,401 4,608 -14.7 -29.5
Exports 3,206 3,199 3,142 -1.8 -2.0
Total 9,742 8,600 7,750 -9.9 -20.4
Air Imports 1,688 1,378 1,432 3.9 -15.2
Exports 2,254 1,849 2,089 13.0 -7.3
Total 3,942 3,227 3,521 9.1 -10.7

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

March 2013 Compared to March in… Percent Change
Truck Rail Pipeline Air Vessel All Modes
2012 -4.1 7.8 -8.7 -10.7 -20.4 -4.0
2011 1.4 20.0 -0.4 -15.0 -16.3 1.4
2010 17.1 31.8 14.3 -3.8 12.8 18.8
2009 52.3 114.9 108.4 2.2 99.8 63.7
2008 21.5 28.1 -9.2 -1.1 7.4 17.2
2007 16.8 26.7 45.1 8.9 31.1 21.1
2006 18.5 36.1 40.2 5.7 40.6 24.0
2005 35.6 53.8 70.2 19.4 75.8 43.1
2004 40.2 62.6 129.5 21.2 116.1 52.3

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 Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   March 2012 February 2013 March 2013 Percent Change February 2013- March 2013 Percent Change March 2012 - 2013
All Modes Imports 29,262 25,733 28,299 10.0 -3.3
Exports 26,200 23,141 26,044 12.5 -0.6
Total 55,461 48,874 54,343 11.2 -2.0
All Surface Modes Imports 24,845 22,215 24,258 9.2 -2.4
Exports 22,134 19,195 21,716 13.1 -1.9
Total 46,979 41,410 45,975 11.0 -2.1
Truck Imports 12,271 10,779 11,983 11.2 -2.3
Exports 18,620 15,807 17,944 13.5 -3.6
Total 30,891 26,586 29,927 12.6 -3.1
Rail Imports 6,199 5,663 6,538 15.5 5.5
Exports 2,939 2,648 3,194 20.6 8.7
Total 9,138 8,311 9,732 17.1 6.5
Pipeline Imports 6,376 5,773 5,737 -0.6 -10.0
Exports 574 739 578 -21.7 0.7
Total 6,950 6,512 6,315 -3.0 -9.1
Vessel Imports 2,350 1,758 1,913 8.8 -18.6
Exports 406 809 614 -24.2 51.2
Total 2,756 2,567 2,526 -1.6 -8.3
Air Imports 949 850 901 6.0 -5.1
Exports 1,633 1,277 1,514 18.6 -7.3
Total 2,581 2,127 2,415 13.6 -6.5

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

Ranked by March 2013 Trade Value

(millions of current dollars)

State March 2012 March 2013 Percent Change March 2012- 2013
Value Rank Value Rank
Michigan 6,427 1 6,482 1 0.8
Illinois 5,611 2 4,714 2 -16.0
California 3,909 3 3,829 3 -2.0
Texas 3,570 4 3,413 4 -4.4
Ohio 3,168 5 3,176 5 0.3
New York 2,735 6 2,707 6 -1.0
Washington 1,837 8 2,307 7 25.6
Pennsylvania 2,019 7 1,853 8 -8.2
Indiana 1,776 9 1,755 9 -1.2
Minnesota 1,553 11 1,493 10 -3.8

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, March 2013

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 3,632 2,383 6,015
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 1,045 2,587 3,632
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 578 5,735 6,314
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 573 1,752 2,325
Air Computer-Related Machinery and Parts 424 147 571

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 Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   March 2012 February 2013 March 2013 Percent Change February 2013- March 2013 Percent Change March 2012 - 2013
All Modes Imports 25,094 21,915 23,243 6.1 -7.4
Exports 18,955 17,660 17,980 1.8 -5.1
Total 44,049 39,574 41,224 4.2 -6.4
All Surface Modes Imports 19,839 17,358 19,587 12.8 -1.3
Exports 14,894 13,814 14,238 3.1 -4.4
Total 34,733 31,172 33,824 8.5 -2.6
Truck Imports 16,662 14,229 15,728 10.5 -5.6
Exports 12,206 11,432 11,675 2.1 -4.3
Total 28,867 25,660 27,403 6.8 -5.1
Rail Imports 3,154 3,107 3,838 23.5 21.7
Exports 2,373 2,103 2,244 6.7 -5.4
Total 5,527 5,210 6,083 16.7 10.1
Pipeline Imports 24 22 20 -10.6 -16.2
Exports 315 279 319 14.3 1.2
Total 339 301 339 12.4 -0.1
Vessel Imports 4,186 3,642 2,695 -26.0 -35.6
Exports 2,800 2,390 2,528 5.8 -9.7
Total 6,986 6,032 5,223 -13.4 -25.2
Air Imports 739 529 531 0.5 -28.1
Exports 621 572 575 0.5 -7.4
Total 1,360 1,101 1,106 0.5 -18.7

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 March 2013 Trade Value

(millions of current dollars)

State March 2012 March 2013 Percent Change March 2012- 2013
Value Rank Value Rank
Texas 17,459 1 15,667 1 -10.3
California 5,656 2 4,992 2 -11.7
Michigan 4,243 3 4,439 3 4.6
Illinois 1,255 5 1,498 4 19.4
Arizona 1,300 4 1,336 5 2.8
Louisiana 859 7 1,074 6 25.0
Ohio 981 6 1,070 7 9.0
Tennessee 813 8 796 8 -2.1
North Carolina 643 11 626 9 -2.7
Georgia 602 12 615 10 2.2

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, March 2013

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,540 4,423 6,963
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 579 2,964 3,543
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 319 20 338
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,559 2,201 3,760
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 209 165 374

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

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