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May 2014 North American Freight Numbers

Press Release Number: 
BTS 35-14
Date: 
Thursday, July 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: 
May 2013 - May 2014

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

U.S.-NAFTA trade totaled $103.9 billion in May 2014 as four of five transportation modes – vessel, pipeline, rail, and trucks – carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade than in May 2013, 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).

The value of May 2014 trade was 5.4 percent more than in May 2013 (Table 2). U.S.-NAFTA trade has increased from the same month of the previous year for four consecutive months and in 10 of the last 11 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 May, commodities moving by pipeline grew in value by the most of any mode, 23.1 percent. Vessel freight increased 6.7 percent followed by a rail increase of 6.2 percent, a truck freight increase of 3.8 percent, and an air decrease of 7.9 percent (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 59.9 percent of U.S.-NAFTA trade in May 2014, accounting for $31.8 billion of exports and $30.4 billion of imports.  

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 15.2 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA trade, followed by vessel at 8.7 percent, pipeline at 7.9 percent, and air at 3.4 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.0 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows (Table 2).

Trade with Canada

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

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Year-to-year, the value of U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline increased the most of any mode, growing 24.1 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 94.8 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in May.  Trade by rail increased 4.5 percent, followed by truck at 2.7 percent. Vessel freight decreased 7.7 percent and air freight decreased 9.8 percent (Figure 2).

The decrease in vessel freight flows can be attributed, in part, to less mineral fuels, aluminum products, and organic chemicals moved by vessel. The decrease in air freight flows can be attributed, in part, to less precious metals and stones, computer related machinery, and pharmaceutical products moved by air.

Trucks carried 53.9 percent of the $57.7 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail at 16.4 percent, pipeline at 13.5 percent, vessel at 5.6 percent and air at 4.0 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.8 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 4).

Trade with Mexico

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

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Year-to-year, the value of U.S.-Mexico trade by vessel increased the most of any mode, growing 16.9 percent, due to an increase in mineral fuels exports (Table 6). Trade with Mexico by rail rose 8.7 percent followed by pipeline at 8.1 percent and truck at 4.9 percent. Air freight declined 4.2 percent (Figure 3).   

Trucks carried 67.3 percent of the $46.3 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail at 13.8 percent, vessel at 12.6 percent, air at 2.7 percent and pipeline at 0.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.0 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 6).

Commodities
In May 2014, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $7.7 billion, or 60.8 percent, moved by pipeline (Table 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in May 2014 was electrical machinery, of which $7.6 billion, or 91.7 percent, moved by trucks (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 June TransBorder numbers for Aug. 28.

 

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 98,577 103,942 1.8 5.4
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 465,425 472,089 485,444 1.4 2.8
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   May 2013 May 2014 Percent Change May 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 52,884 55,539 5.0
Exports 45,694 48,403 5.9
Total 98,577 103,942 5.4
All Surface Modes Imports 44,057 47,141 7.0
Exports 37,490 39,123 4.4
Total 81,547 86,264 5.8
Truck Imports 28,868 30,376 5.2
Exports 31,100 31,847 2.4
Total 59,968 62,223 3.8
Rail Imports 9,486 9,986 5.3
Exports 5,431 5,853 7.8
Total 14,917 15,838 6.2
Pipeline Imports 5,704 6,779 18.9
Exports 958 1,423 48.5
Total 6,662 8,202 23.1
Vessel Imports 5,386 5,163 -4.1
Exports 3,116 3,912 25.6
Total 8,502 9,075 6.7
Air Imports 1,803 1,439 -20.2
Exports 2,044 2,105 3.0
Total 3,847 3,544 -7.9

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

May 2014 Compared to May in... Percent Change
Truck Rail Pipeline Air Vessel All Modes
2013 3.8 6.2 23.1 -7.9 6.7 5.4
2012 4.0 18.2 33.2 -4.9 -2.9 7.3
2011 16.5 19.7 15.2 -4.1 -10.3 14.1
2010 32.0 38.0 55.7 -4.2 29.9 34.1
2009 79.4 120.1 155.7 18.1 95.6 87.2
2008 26.5 24.9 5.9 0.5 15.3 21.5
2007 27.8 32.2 67.4 15.8 44.9 32.0
2006 31.7 43.5 77.3 14.7 38.6 37.4
2005 49.5 60.1 149.6 31.2 77.1 58.2
2004 63.6 62.2 196.0 39.6 128.2 74.2

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   May 2013 May 2014 Percent Change May 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 28,343 30,224 6.6
Exports 26,453 27,427 3.7
Total 54,796 57,651 5.2
All Surface Modes Imports 24,045 26,052 8.3
Exports 21,538 22,253 3.3
Total 45,584 48,305 6.0
Truck Imports 12,331 13,031 5.7
Exports 17,933 18,036 0.6
Total 30,265 31,068 2.7
Rail Imports 6,035 6,261 3.7
Exports 3,015 3,199 6.1
Total 9,050 9,460 4.5
Pipeline Imports 5,679 6,760 19.0
Exports 590 1,018 72.4
Total 6,269 7,777 24.1
Vessel Imports 2,100 1,933 -7.9
Exports 1,399 1,296 -7.4
Total 3,499 3,229 -7.7
Air Imports 1,123 858 -23.6
Exports 1,404 1,421 1.2
Total 2,527 2,279 -9.8

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, May 2014

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 2,735 10,003 12,738
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 3,523 2,751 6,273
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 1,069 2,392 3,461
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,012 6,734 7,746
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,106 1,641 2,748
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 338 153 491

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   May 2013 May 2014 Percent Change May 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 24,541 25,315 3.2
Exports 19,240 20,976 9.0
Total 43,781 46,291 5.7
All Surface Modes Imports 20,012 21,089 5.4
Exports 15,952 16,869 5.8
Total 35,964 37,958 5.5
Truck Imports 16,536 17,345 4.9
Exports 13,167 13,811 4.9
Total 29,703 31,156 4.9
Rail Imports 3,451 3,724 7.9
Exports 2,417 2,653 9.8
Total 5,867 6,378 8.7
Pipeline Imports 25 20 -22.0
Exports 368 405 10.1
Total 393 425 8.1
Vessel Imports 3,286 3,229 -1.7
Exports 1,716 2,617 52.5
Total 5,003 5,846 16.9
Air Imports 679 580 -14.6
Exports 640 684 6.9
Total 1,319 1,264 -4.2

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 3,326 4,938 8,264
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,963 4,611 7,574
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 602 2,698 3,300
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 405 20 425
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,445 2,360 3,805
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 245 185 430

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

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