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Trucks Transported 60.8% of U.S.-NAFTA Trade in May 2013

Press Release Number: 
BTS 36-13
Date: 
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation today released May North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) freight numbers showing that trucks carried 60.8 percent of the $98.6 billion of freight moved in May 2013 between the United States and its NAFTA partners, Canada and Mexico. Trucks were followed by rail at 15.1 percent, vessels at 8.6 percent, pipelines at 6.8 percent and air at 3.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.7 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows (Figure 3).

BTS, a part of the Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that in May, for freight flows with Canada, trucks carried 55.2 percent of the $54.8 billion of the freight, followed by rail at 16.5 percent, pipelines at 11.4 percent, vessels at 6.4 percent and air at 4.6 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.2 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 4).

For freight flows with Mexico in May, trucks carried 67.8 percent of the $43.8 billion of the freight, followed by rail at 13.4 percent, vessel at 11.4 percent, air at 3.0 percent and pipelines 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 7).

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-May 2013

Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows  January 2004-May 2013

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 increased 1.8 percent from May 2012 and rose 77.5 percent from May 2009 (Tables 1, 3). 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 May. The dotted slices represent surface modes, which accounted for 82.7 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 $31.1 billion of exports and $28.9 billion of imports.

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

U.S.-NAFTA Freight by Mode, May 2013

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Freight flows by all modes of transportation between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners decreased 0.4 percent in May 2013 from April 2013, measured in current dollars (Table 2).  Freight moving across the borders by truck was virtually unchanged, up just 0.02 percent, while freight moving by rail decreased by 0.4 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 May 2012 to May 2013, the value of freight carried by truck rose 0.2 percent while the value of freight carried by rail grew 11.3 percent (Table 2). For statistics by mode and individual NAFTA partner, see Table 4 for Canada and Table 7 for Mexico. 

In May, for the 10th consecutive month, Michigan led all states in goods transported to and from Canada, at $6.4 billion. Washington had the largest year-to-year percentage increase among the top 10 states, at 21.8 percent. Minnesota had the largest year-to-year decrease at 13.0 percent (Table 5).  The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada in May was mineral fuels, of which $5.6 billion was imported by pipeline (Table 6).

Texas continued to lead all states in goods transported to and from Mexico, at $17.0 billion. Texas has been the top state for trade with Mexico for all of the 230 months since the start of the TransBorder database in 1994.  Illinois had the largest year-to-year percentage increase among the top 10 states, at 20.1 percent (Table 8). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada in May was mineral fuels, two-thirds of which is crude petroleum, and which increased in value by 4 percent from May 2012. This increase includes a 59 percent rise to $581 million in the value of mineral fuel shipments imported by rail while $5.6 billion was imported by pipeline (Table 9).

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 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 98,984 5.9 7.4
May 91,126 96,840 98,577 6.3 1.8
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 429,075 465,425 472,089 8.5 1.4
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   May 2012 April 2013 May 2013 Percent Change April 2013 - May 2013 Percent Change May 2012 - 2013
All Modes Imports 52,706 52,925 52,884 -0.1 0.3
Exports 44,134 46,060 45,694 -0.8 3.5
Total 96,840 98,984 98,577 -0.4 1.8
All Surface Modes Imports 43,250 44,042 44,057 0.0 1.9
Exports 36,139 37,669 37,490 -0.5 3.7
Total 79,388 81,711 81,547 -0.2 2.7
Truck Imports 29,372 28,569 28,868 1.0 -1.7
Exports 30,452 31,384 31,100 -0.9 2.1
Total 59,824 59,953 59,968 0.0 0.2
Rail Imports 8,363 9,572 9,486 -0.9 13.4
Exports 5,042 5,410 5,431 0.4 7.7
Total 13,405 14,983 14,917 -0.4 11.3
Pipeline Imports 5,515 5,900 5,704 -3.3 3.4
Exports 645 875 958 9.6 48.6
Total 6,160 6,775 6,662 -1.7 8.1
Vessel Imports 6,231 5,918 5,386 -9.0 -13.6
Exports 3,113 3,178 3,116 -1.9 0.1
Total 9,344 9,095 8,502 -6.5 -9.0
Air Imports 1,668 1,652 1,803 9.1 8.1
Exports 2,058 2,143 2,044 -4.6 -0.7
Total 3,727 3,795 3,847 1.4 3.2

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_DataF....

 

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

May 2013 Compared to May in… Percent Change
Truck Rail Pipeline Air Vessel All Modes
2012 0.2 11.3 8.1 3.2 -9.0 1.8
2011 12.2 12.7 -6.4 4.1 -15.9 8.2
2010 27.2 30.0 26.5 4.0 21.7 27.2
2009 72.9 107.3 107.7 28.2 83.2 77.5
2008 21.9 17.6 -14.0 9.1 8.1 15.3
2007 23.2 24.5 36.0 25.7 35.8 25.2
2006 26.9 35.1 44.0 24.5 29.8 30.3
2005 44.1 50.8 102.8 42.4 65.9 50.1
2004 57.6 52.8 140.4 51.5 113.8 65.2

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 2012 April 2013 May 2013 Percent Change April 2013 - May 2013 Percent Change May 2012 - 2013
All Modes Imports 27,829 28,591 28,343 -0.9 1.8
Exports 25,605 26,158 26,453 1.1 3.3
Total 53,434 54,749 54,796 0.1 2.5
All Surface Modes Imports 23,616 24,564 24,045 -2.1 1.8
Exports 21,170 21,434 21,538 0.5 1.7
Total 44,787 45,998 45,584 -0.9 1.8
Truck Imports 12,669 12,303 12,331 0.2 -2.7
Exports 18,064 17,895 17,933 0.2 -0.7
Total 30,732 30,198 30,265 0.2 -1.5
Rail Imports 5,452 6,382 6,035 -5.4 10.7
Exports 2,740 3,015 3,015 0.0 10.0
Total 8,192 9,396 9,050 -3.7 10.5
Pipeline Imports 5,496 5,879 5,679 -3.4 3.3
Exports 367 525 590 12.4 60.9
Total 5,862 6,404 6,269 -2.1 6.9
Vessel Imports 2,138 2,209 2,100 -5.0 -1.8
Exports 795 1,052 1,399 33.1 76.0
Total 2,933 3,261 3,499 7.3 19.3
Air Imports 920 971 1,123 15.7 22.1
Exports 1,457 1,564 1,404 -10.2 -3.6
Total 2,376 2,535 2,527 -0.3 6.4

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_DataF....

 

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

Ranked by May 2013 Trade Value

(millions of current dollars)

State May 2012 May 2013 Percent Change May 2012- 2013
Value Rank Value Rank
Michigan 6,643 1 6,357 1 -4.3
Illinois 4,877 2 4,794 2 -1.7
California 3,451 3 3,795 3 10.0
Texas 3,379 4 3,709 4 9.8
Ohio 3,245 5 3,229 5 -0.5
New York 2,865 6 3,021 6 5.5
Washington 1,785 10 2,173 7 21.8
Pennsylvania 1,933 7 2,066 8 6.9
Indiana 1,823 8 1,751 9 -4.0
Minnesota 1,813 9 1,578 10 -13.0

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, May 2013

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 3,703 2,383 6,086
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 915 2,296 3,211
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 589 5,648 6,238
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,229 1,779 3,008
Air Pearls; Stones; Metals and Imitation Jewelry 154 365 520

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   May 2012 April 2013 May 2013 Percent Change April 2013 - May 2013 Percent Change May 2012 - 2013
All Modes Imports 24,877 24,334 24,541 0.8 -1.4
Exports 18,529 19,901 19,240 -3.3 3.8
Total 43,406 44,235 43,781 -1.0 0.9
All Surface Modes Imports 19,634 19,478 20,012 2.7 1.9
Exports 14,968 16,235 15,952 -1.7 6.6
Total 34,602 35,712 35,964 0.7 3.9
Truck Imports 16,703 16,266 16,536 1.7 -1.0
Exports 12,388 13,489 13,167 -2.4 6.3
Total 29,091 29,756 29,703 -0.2 2.1
Rail Imports 2,911 3,191 3,451 8.1 18.5
Exports 2,302 2,395 2,417 0.9 5.0
Total 5,213 5,586 5,867 5.0 12.6
Pipeline Imports 20 21 25 19.7 28.2
Exports 278 350 368 5.3 32.3
Total 298 371 393 6.1 32.1
Vessel Imports 4,093 3,708 3,286 -11.4 -19.7
Exports 2,318 2,126 1,716 -19.3 -26.0
Total 6,411 5,834 5,003 -14.3 -22.0
Air Imports 749 681 679 -0.2 -9.2
Exports 602 579 640 10.5 6.4
Total 1,350 1,260 1,319 4.7 -2.3

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_DataF....

 

Table 8. Top 10 State Freight Flows with Mexico by All Modes of Transportation

Ranked by May 2013 Trade Value

(millions of current dollars)

State May 2012 May 2013 Percent Change May 2012- 2013
Value Rank Value Rank
Texas 17,180 1 16,960 1 -1.3
California 5,647 2 5,126 2 -9.2
Michigan 4,087 3 4,266 3 4.4
Illinois 1,361 4 1,634 4 20.1
Arizona 1,305 5 1,444 5 10.7
Ohio 987 7 1,138 6 15.3
Louisiana 1,031 6 873 7 -15.3
Tennessee 764 8 847 8 10.9
Florida 700 10 694 9 -0.8
North Carolina 733 9 684 10 -6.8

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 9. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, May 2013

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,867 4,562 7,428
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 535 2,508 3,043
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 368 25 393
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 928 2,662 3,590
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 233 230 463

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

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