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April 2014 North American Freight Numbers

Press Release Number: 
BTS 31-14
Date: 
Thursday, June 26, 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: 
April 2013 - April 2014

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Two of five transportation modes – pipeline and trucks – carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in April 2014 than in April 2013 as U.S.-NAFTA trade value rose to $100.1 billion, according to the TransBorder freight data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Figure 1, Table 2).

The increases came in two modes that combined carry more than two-thirds of total U.S.-NAFTA trade. Trucks, at 60.3 percent of the April trade, and pipeline, at 8.6 percent, carried a total of 69.0 percent of the trade. 

A 4.2 percent increase in imports by truck offset a 2.5 percent decline in exports from year-to-year. Imports from Canada and Mexico both increased while exports by truck on each of the borders decreased. An increase in both imports and exports by pipeline across the Canadian border pushed pipeline’s share of total trade to 8.6 percent from 6.8 percent in April 2013 (Table 2, 4, 6).

The April 2014 trade total was a 1.2 percent increase from April 2013 (Table 2). U.S.-NAFTA trade has increased from the same month of the previous year in nine of the last 10 months, interrupted by a 0.2 percent decrease in January.  The January decline reflected the severe weather in the northern states and along the U.S.-Canada border.

Trade by Mode
In April, commodities moving by pipeline grew the most of any mode, 27.8 percent.
Truck freight increased 0.7 percent, rail declined 1.8 percent followed by declines in air at 3.1 and vessel at 13.2 (Figure 1, Table 2). The increase in the value of freight carried by pipelines reflects both a rise in the volume and prices for oil and other petroleum products, the primary commodity transported by pipelines.

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks carried 60.3 percent of U.S.-NAFTA trade in April 2014, accounting for $30.6 billion of exports and $29.8 billion of imports.  

Although the value of freight carried by rail decreased from year to year, rail remained the second largest mode moving 14.7 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA trade, followed by pipeline at 8.6 percent, vessel at 7.9 percent and air at 3.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.7 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows (Table 2).

Trade with Canada
Year-to-year, the value of U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline increased the most of any mode, growing 28.8 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 95.3 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in April. Vessel freight exports to Canada increased 18.5 percent while imports declined 33.3 percent; a total vessel trade decline of 16.6 percent.

Trade using trucks rose by 0.4 percent while air freight declined 7.7 percent. U.S.-Canada trade by rail declined 6.5 percent, with an 11.3 percent fall in imports, due in part to a decrease in trade of vehicles and parts (Figure 2, Tables 2, 4).

Trucks carried 54.4 percent of the $55.8 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail at 15.8 percent, pipeline at 14.8 percent, vessel at 4.9 percent and air at 4.2 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.9 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:
April 2013 - April 2014

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Trade with Mexico
Year-to-year, the value of trade by pipeline increased the most of any mode, growing 10.8 percent, but pipeline trade remained less than 1 percent of total U.S.-Mexico trade and the smallest of the modes based on value (Table 6).  Trade with Mexico by truck rose 1.1 percent and rail freight rose 6.1 percent.  Air freight also rose 6.1 percent while freight moved by vessel declined 11.2 percent (Figure 3).   

Trucks carried 67.8 percent of the $44.4 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail at 13.4 percent, vessel at 11.7 percent, air at 3.0 percent and pipeline at 0.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.1 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:
April 2013 - April 2014

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Commodities
In April 2014, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $8.2 billion, or 64.2 percent, moved by pipeline (Table 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in April 2014 was electrical machinery, of which $7.3 billion, or 91.7 percent, moved by trucks (Table 7). 

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 May TransBorder numbers for July 24.

 

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 95,566 101,478 -4.0 6.2
April 92,199 98,984 100,141 7.4 1.2
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  
Year-to-date 368,584 373,511 381,502 1.3 2.1
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   April 2013 April 2014 Percent Change April 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 52,925 53,694 1.5
Exports 46,060 46,447 0.8
Total 98,984 100,141 1.2
All Surface Modes Imports 44,042 45,874 4.2
Exports 37,669 37,898 0.6
Total 81,711 83,771 2.5
Truck Imports 28,569 29,796 4.3
Exports 31,384 30,606 -2.5
Total 59,953 60,402 0.7
Rail Imports 9,572 9,174 -4.2
Exports 5,410 5,540 2.4
Total 14,983 14,713 -1.8
Pipeline Imports 5,900 6,904 17.0
Exports 875 1,753 100.4
Total 6,775 8,656 27.8
Vessel Imports 5,918 4,589 -22.5
Exports 3,178 3,309 4.2
Total 9,095 7,898 -13.2
Air Imports 1,652 1,607 -2.7
Exports 2,143 2,069 -3.4
Total 3,795 3,676 -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

April 2014 Compared to April in... Percent Change
Truck Rail Pipeline Air Vessel All Modes
2013 0.7 -1.8 27.8 -3.1 -13.2 1.2
2012 9.4 5.4 27.2 7.9 -12.3 8.6
2011 18.5 15.6 33.4 -0.5 -18.0 15.0
2010 30.8 30.9 63.3 8.5 16.8 31.8
2009 68.1 99.8 159.3 25.7 92.4 76.4
2008 22.4 17.6 4.9 3.7 -7.1 16.0
2007 33.4 29.9 79.3 30.8 41.5 36.4
2006 40.6 37.2 96.1 26.8 27.5 41.4
2005 46.7 46.1 135.3 41.0 70.8 52.8
2004 58.1 58.4 197.1 32.3 123.9 68.3

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   April 2013 April 2014 Percent Change April 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 28,591 29,213 2.2
Exports 26,158 26,559 1.5
Total 54,749 55,772 1.9
All Surface Modes Imports 24,564 25,633 4.4
Exports 21,434 21,719 1.3
Total 45,998 47,352 2.9
Truck Imports 12,303 13,082 6.3
Exports 17,895 17,239 -3.7
Total 30,198 30,320 0.4
Rail Imports 6,382 5,663 -11.3
Exports 3,015 3,124 3.6
Total 9,396 8,787 -6.5
Pipeline Imports 5,879 6,889 17.2
Exports 525 1,357 158.5
Total 6,404 8,246 28.8
Vessel Imports 2,209 1,473 -33.3
Exports 1,052 1,246 18.5
Total 3,261 2,720 -16.6
Air Imports 971 940 -3.2
Exports 1,564 1,399 -10.5
Total 2,535 2,339 -7.7

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, April 2014

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 3,128 9,671 12,799
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 3,207 2,738 5,946
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 963 1,881 2,844
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,347 6,864 8,211
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,093 1,232 2,325
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 320 151 472

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   April 2013 April 2014 Percent Change April 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 24,334 24,481 0.6
Exports 19,901 19,888 -0.1
Total 44,235 44,370 0.3
All Surface Modes Imports 19,478 20,240 3.9
Exports 16,235 16,179 -0.3
Total 35,712 36,419 2.0
Truck Imports 16,266 16,715 2.8
Exports 13,489 13,367 -0.9
Total 29,756 30,082 1.1
Rail Imports 3,191 3,511 10.0
Exports 2,395 2,416 0.9
Total 5,586 5,927 6.1
Pipeline Imports 21 15 -29.6
Exports 350 396 13.2
Total 371 411 10.8
Vessel Imports 3,708 3,115 -16.0
Exports 2,126 2,063 -3.0
Total 5,834 5,178 -11.2
Air Imports 681 667 -2.0
Exports 579 670 15.7
Total 1,260 1,337 6.1

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 3,163 4,766 7,929
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,844 4,424 7,267
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 502 2,564 3,067
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 396 15 410
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,123 2,365 3,488
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 238 175 413

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

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