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July 2015 North American Freight Numbers

Press Release Number: 
BTS 45-15
Date: 
Tuesday, September 29, 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: July 2014 - 2015

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

The value of U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $93.0 billion in July 2015 as all modes except air carried less freight than in July 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 8.0 percent. Large decreases in the value of commodities moved by pipeline and vessel in July were due to the reduced unit price of mineral fuel.

Freight by Mode

In July 2015 compared to July 2014, the value of commodities moving by air increased by 3.4 percent, while truck decreased by 0.6 percent and rail by 14.5 percent (Figure 1, Table 2). Vessel freight values decreased by 26.3 percent and pipeline freight decreased by 34.8 percent mainly due to the lower unit price of mineral fuel.

Average monthly fuel prices are available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. A decline in the value of freight shipments does not necessarily mean there was a lower volume of freight transported.

Trucks carried 63.9 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 $30.0 billion of the $49.2 billion of imports (61.0 percent) and $29.4 billion of the $43.8 billion of exports (67.1 percent) (Table 2).

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 13.7 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 7.3 percent; pipeline, 6.0 percent; and air, 3.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.7 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: July 2014 - 2015

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

The value of U.S.-Canada freight totaled $47.5 billion in July 2015, down 14.0 percent from July 2014, as no mode of transportation carried a higher value of U.S.-Canada freight than a year earlier.

Lower mineral fuel prices contributed to a year-over-year decrease in the value of freight moved between the U.S. and Canada. Mineral fuels are a large share of freight carried by vessel and pipeline, which were down 28.3 percent and 36.4 percent respectively year-over-year (Figure 2, Table 3).

Trucks carried 57.5 percent of the $47.5 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 14.3 percent; pipeline, 11.0 percent; vessel, 5.2 percent; and air, 4.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.8 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: July 2014 - 2015

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

The value of U.S.-Mexico freight totaled $45.5 billion in July 2015, down 0.8 percent from July 2014, as only two out of five transportation modes – air and truck – carried more U.S.-Mexico freight than in July 2014. Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Mexico air freight rose 9.5 percent, the largest percentage increase of any mode. Freight carried by truck increased by 4.7 percent. Pipeline freight was down 4.6 percent and rail freight declined 8.5 percent. Vessel freight decreased by 25.1 mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices (Figure 3, Table 4).

Trucks carried 70.6 percent of the $45.5 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 13.1 percent; vessel, 9.5 percent; air, 3.0 percent; and pipeline, 0.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.6 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 4).

Commodities
In July 2015, the top commodity category for all modes transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $5.2 billion, or 61.3 percent, moved by pipeline and $1.9 billion, or 22.7 percent, moved by vessel (Figure 4). The top commodity category for all modes transported between the U.S. and Mexico in July 2015 was electrical machinery, of which $8.0 billion, or 92.2 percent, moved by truck and $0.5 billion, or 5.2 percent, moved by air (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 seasonally adjusted and 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 August TransBorder numbers for Oct. 29.

 

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 93,327 1.2 -6.8
May 98,742 103,942 92,707 5.3 -10.8
June 93,502 102,978 99,030 10.1 -3.8
July 93,080 101,075 92,995 8.6 -8.0
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 659,697 689,497 649,110 4.5 -5.9
Annual 1,140,770 1,192,671   4.5  

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

Note: Numbers July 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   July 2014 July 2015 Percent Change July 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 54,281 49,187 -9.4
Exports 46,794 43,808 -6.4
Total 101,075 92,995 -8.0
All Surface Modes Imports 45,974 42,835 -6.8
Exports 37,357 34,964 -6.4
Total 83,331 77,799 -6.6
Truck Imports 29,294 30,019 2.5
Exports 30,522 29,417 -3.6
Total 59,816 59,436 -0.6
Rail Imports 9,362 8,116 -13.3
Exports 5,576 4,659 -16.4
Total 14,938 12,774 -14.5
Pipeline Imports 7,318 4,700 -35.8
Exports 1,259 888 -29.5
Total 8,578 5,589 -34.8
Vessel Imports 4,981 3,239 -35.0
Exports 4,266 3,578 -16.1
Total 9,247 6,817 -26.3
Air Imports 1,430 1,489 4.1
Exports 2,043 2,103 2.9
Total 3,473 3,592 3.4

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_DataFields.html.

 

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   July 2014 July 2015 Percent Change July 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 29,165 24,719 -15.2
Exports 26,028 22,743 -12.6
Total 55,193 47,462 -14.0
All Surface Modes Imports 25,145 21,494 -14.5
Exports 20,531 17,790 -13.3
Total 45,675 39,283 -14.0
Truck Imports 12,413 12,200 -1.7
Exports 16,688 15,089 -9.6
Total 29,101 27,289 -6.2
Rail Imports 5,432 4,621 -14.9
Exports 2,974 2,175 -26.9
Total 8,406 6,796 -19.2
Pipeline Imports 7,300 4,673 -36.0
Exports 869 526 -39.5
Total 8,169 5,199 -36.4
Vessel Imports 1,734 1,210 -30.2
Exports 1,730 1,274 -26.3
Total 3,463 2,483 -28.3
Air Imports 851 939 10.4
Exports 1,376 1,288 -6.4
Total 2,227 2,227 0.0

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, July 2015

Table Version | Excel

Figure 4. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, July 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   July 2014 July 2015 Percent Change July 2014-2015
All Modes Imports 25,116 24,468 -2.6
Exports 20,766 21,065 1.4
Total 45,882 45,533 -0.8
All Surface Modes Imports 20,829 21,341 2.5
Exports 16,827 17,174 2.1
Total 37,656 38,515 2.3
Truck Imports 16,881 17,819 5.6
Exports 13,834 14,328 3.6
Total 30,715 32,147 4.7
Rail Imports 3,930 3,495 -11.1
Exports 2,602 2,483 -4.5
Total 6,532 5,978 -8.5
Pipeline Imports 18 28 50.0
Exports 390 363 -7.1
Total 409 390 -4.6
Vessel Imports 3,247 2,030 -37.5
Exports 2,536 2,304 -9.2
Total 5,784 4,334 -25.1
Air Imports 579 549 -5.1
Exports 667 815 22.3
Total 1,245 1,364 9.5

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.

 

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

(billions of current dollars)

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data
NOTE: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.