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March 2015 North American Freight Numbers

Press Release Number: 
BTS 26-15
Date: 
Thursday, May 28, 2015
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: March 2014 - 2015

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $96.1 billion in March 2015 as three out of five transportation modes – air, rail, and truck – carried more U.S.-NAFTA freight than in March 2014, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Figure 1, Table 1). Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows by all modes decreased by 5.3 percent. The value of NAFTA trade by pipeline and vessel declined in March due to the reduced unit price of mineral fuel shipments.

Freight by Mode

In March 2015 compared to March 2014, the value of commodities moving by air grew by the largest percentage of any mode, 6.0 percent. Rail freight increased by 1.5 percent and truck freight increased by 0.9 percent (Figure 1, Table 2). Vessel freight decreased by 30.3 percent and pipeline freight decreased by 41.6 percent mainly due to the lower unit price of mineral fuel shipments.

Trucks carried 64.0 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 $30.6 billion of the $51.2 billion of imports (59.8 percent) and $30.9 billion of the $44.9 billion of exports (68.9 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 15.8 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 6.2 percent; pipeline, 5.1 percent; and air, 4.1 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.9 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: March 2014 - 2015

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

U.S.-Canada freight totaled $50.8 billion in March 2015 as one out of five transportation modes – air – carried more U.S.-Canada freight than in March 2014. Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Canada trade by air increased by 1.0 percent. Lower mineral fuel prices contributed to a year-over-year decrease in the value of rail freight, down 2.9 percent. Mineral fuels are a larger share of freight moved by vessel, which declined 26.0 percent, and pipeline down 42.1 percent. A drop in bidirectional trade of vehicles and parts contributed to a 3.4 percent decline in U.S.-Canada truck freight over the same time period (Figure 2, Table 3).

Trucks carried 58.4 percent of the $50.8 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 16.7 percent; pipeline, 9.0 percent; air, 4.9 percent; and vessel, 4.4 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.1 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: March 2014 - 2015

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

U.S.-Mexico freight totaled $45.2 billion in March 2015 as three out of five transportation modes – air, rail, and truck – carried more U.S.-Mexico freight than in March 2014. Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Mexico air freight rose 15.7 percent, the largest percentage increase of any mode. Freight carried by rail increased by 7.5 percent and truck freight increased by 5.3 percent. Pipeline freight decreased by 32.1 percent and vessel freight decreased by 32.7 percent, mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices (Figure 3, Table 4).

Trucks carried 70.3 percent of the $45.2 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 14.9 percent; vessel, 8.2 percent; air, 3.3 percent; and pipeline, 0.6 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.9 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 4).

Commodities

In March 2015, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was vehicles and parts, of which $5.4 billion, or 59.2 percent, moved by truck (Figure 4). Vehicles and parts replaced mineral fuels as the top commodity this month. Mineral fuels had been the top commodity by value moved between the U.S. and Canada for 29 consecutive months (since November 2012). This change is due, in large part, to a decline in the unit price of mineral fuels in recent months. The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in March 2015 was vehicles and parts, of which $4.2 billion, or 48.9 percent, moved by truck and $3.8 billion, or 45.1 percent, moved by rail (Figure 5).

Reporting Notes

BTS 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 April TransBorder numbers for June 25.

 

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 96,070 6.0 -5.3
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 275,417 281,361 271,052 2.2 -3.7
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   March 2014 March 2015 Percent Change March 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 54,381 51,166 -5.9
Exports 47,097 44,904 -4.7
Total 101,478 96,070 -5.3
All Surface Modes Imports 45,980 44,591 -3.0
Exports 38,308 37,013 -3.4
Total 84,287 81,605 -3.2
Truck Imports 29,758 30,584 2.8
Exports 31,201 30,935 -0.9
Total 60,959 61,519 0.9
Rail Imports 9,429 9,999 6.0
Exports 5,566 5,219 -6.2
Total 14,995 15,218 1.5
Pipeline Imports 6,793 4,008 -41.0
Exports 1,541 859 -44.2
Total 8,334 4,867 -41.6
Vessel Imports 4,928 3,381 -31.4
Exports 3,590 2,554 -28.9
Total 8,518 5,935 -30.3
Air Imports 1,601 1,505 -6.0
Exports 2,158 2,479 14.9
Total 3,759 3,984 6.0

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   March 2014 March 2015 Percent Change March 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 29,426 25,797 -12.3
Exports 27,200 25,035 -8.0
Total 56,626 50,831 -10.2
All Surface Modes Imports 25,207 22,401 -11.1
Exports 22,161 20,343 -8.2
Total 47,369 42,744 -9.8
Truck Imports 12,871 12,699 -1.3
Exports 17,877 17,003 -4.9
Total 30,747 29,702 -3.4
Rail Imports 5,559 5,702 2.6
Exports 3,154 2,763 -12.4
Total 8,713 8,465 -2.9
Pipeline Imports 6,777 4,001 -41.0
Exports 1,131 578 -48.9
Total 7,908 4,578 -42.1
Vessel Imports 1,770 1,316 -25.6
Exports 1,260 926 -26.5
Total 3,029 2,242 -26.0
Air Imports 990 894 -9.7
Exports 1,484 1,604 8.1
Total 2,474 2,499 1.0

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.

 

Figure 4. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, March 2015

(billions of current dollars)

Table Version | Excel

Figure 4. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, March 2015

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

NOTE: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.

 

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   March 2014 March 2015 Percent Change March 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 24,956 25,369 1.7
Exports 19,897 19,870 -0.1
Total 44,853 45,239 0.9
All Surface Modes Imports 20,772 22,190 6.8
Exports 16,147 16,670 3.2
Total 36,919 38,860 5.3
Truck Imports 16,887 17,885 5.9
Exports 13,324 13,932 4.6
Total 30,211 31,817 5.3
Rail Imports 3,869 4,297 11.1
Exports 2,413 2,456 1.8
Total 6,282 6,754 7.5
Pipeline Imports 16 7 -53.1
Exports 410 282 -31.3
Total 426 289 -32.1
Vessel Imports 3,159 2,065 -34.6
Exports 2,331 1,628 -30.1
Total 5,489 3,694 -32.7
Air Imports 610 610 0.0
Exports 674 875 29.8
Total 1,284 1,485 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.

 

Figure 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, March 2015

(billions of current dollars)

Table Version | Excel

Figure 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, March 2015

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

NOTE: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.