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Three of Five Modes Carried More U.S. NAFTA Trade in August 2013 than in August 2012

Press Release Number: 
BTS 49-13
Date: 
Thursday, November 7, 2013
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: August 2013 Compared to August 2012

Figure 1.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: August 2013 Compared to August 2012

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Three of the five transportation modes carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in August 2013 than in August 2012 as the value of overall U.S. trade with its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, rose 2.0 percent from year to year, according to the August NAFTA freight data released today by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (Table 1).

BTS, a part of the Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that pipelines showed the most year-to-year growth at 18.2 percent.  The increase in the value of freight carried by pipelines reflects the rise in prices for oil and other petroleum products, the primary commodity transported by pipelines.

Trade by Mode
Truck, which carries three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade and is the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners, rose 0.7 percent while rail rose 3.0 percent.  Vessel declined 2.6 percent and air 2.4 percent (Figure 1).

Trucks carried 59.9 percent of the $96.5 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in August 2013 accounting for $30.3 billion of exports and $27.5 billion of imports (Table 2). Trucks were followed by rail at 15.6 percent, vessels at 8.5 percent, pipeline at 7.4 percent and air at 3.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.9 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows (Figure 2).

Figure 2. U.S.-NAFTA Freight by Mode, August 2013
Current dollars, Share of total

Figure 2. U.S.-NAFTA Freight by Mode, August 2013

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Trade with Canada
U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline, of which 90 percent was imported, increased the most of any mode from August 2012 to August 2013, growing 20.6 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprises 96 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade (Tables 2, 4). Freight moved by rail between the U.S. and Canada decreased by 1.4 percent (Figure 3).

For trade with Canada in August, trucks carried 54.6 percent of the $53.4 billion of the freight, followed by rail at 16.7 percent, pipelines at 12.8 percent, vessel at 5.0 percent and air at 4.5 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.1 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 4). 

Figure 3.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode: August 2012-August 2013

Figure 3.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode: August 2012-August 2013

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Trade with Mexico
U.S.-Mexico trade by rail increased the most of any mode from August 2012 to August 2013, growing 10.1 percent. Freight moved by pipeline between the U.S. and Mexico decreased by 17.5 percent (Figure 4).  However, U.S.-Mexico pipeline trade only comprises 4 percent of total U.S. NAFTA pipeline trade (Tables 2, 6).  

For trade with Mexico in August, trucks carried 66.3 percent of the $43.2 billion of the freight, followed by rail at 14.3 percent, vessel at 12.8 percent, air at 2.8 percent and pipelines at 0.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.3 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 6).

Figure 4.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode: August 2012-August 2013

Figure 4.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode: August 2012-August 2013

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Commodities
In August 2013, the top commodity group transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $6.8 billion moved by pipeline (Table 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in August 2013 was electrical machinery, of which $7.2 billion moved by truck (Table 7).

Reporting Notes
Beginning with January 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.  Figure 2 above 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 August. The dotted slices represent surface modes, which accounted for 82.9 percent of the total.

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 September TransBorder numbers for Dec. 5.

 

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 93,483 3.9 -0.8
July 84,952 87,691 93,192 3.2 6.3
August 93,450 94,593 96,526 1.2 2.0
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 698,140 741,909 755,289 6.3 1.8
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   August 2012 August 2013 Percent Change August 2012-2013
All Modes Imports 50,737 51,840 2.2
Exports 43,856 44,686 1.9
Total 94,593 96,526 2.0
All Surface Modes Imports 42,093 43,485 3.3
Exports 35,938 36,498 1.6
Total 78,031 79,983 2.5
Truck Imports 27,464 27,458 0.0
Exports 29,905 30,327 1.4
Total 57,369 57,785 0.7
Rail Imports 9,245 9,863 6.7
Exports 5,401 5,221 -3.3
Total 14,646 15,084 3.0
Pipeline Imports 5,384 6,165 14.5
Exports 632 950 50.2
Total 6,017 7,114 18.2
Vessel Imports 5,396 5,242 -2.9
Exports 3,015 2,951 -2.1
Total 8,411 8,193 -2.6
Air Imports 1,668 1,452 -12.9
Exports 2,034 2,160 6.2
Total 3,702 3,613 -2.4

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

August 2013 Compared to August in… Percent Change
Truck Rail Pipeline Air Vessel All Modes
2012 0.7 3.0 18.2 -2.4 -2.6 2.0
2011 3.2 17.8 -3.2 -11.5 -8.6 3.3
2010 20.2 33.2 40.2 -8.1 19.0 22.5
2009 50.3 79.0 66.3 22.0 43.6 53.4
2008 23.4 15.4 -16.5 5.8 -13.4 13.4
2007 20.2 24.9 44.5 10.0 22.9 22.0
2006 23.5 35.7 40.7 15.4 19.6 26.5
2005 35.1 56.3 54.9 34.6 42.9 40.7
2004 50.5 65.7 117.7 38.8 97.3 60.0

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   August 2012 August 2013 Percent Change August 2012-2013
All Modes Imports 27,048 27,835 2.9
Exports 24,687 25,531 3.4
Total 51,736 53,367 3.2
All Surface Modes Imports 23,091 23,876 3.4
Exports 20,654 21,003 1.7
Total 43,744 44,879 2.6
Truck Imports 11,753 11,708 -0.4
Exports 17,311 17,457 0.8
Total 29,065 29,165 0.3
Rail Imports 5,971 6,025 0.9
Exports 3,061 2,879 -5.9
Total 9,032 8,904 -1.4
Pipeline Imports 5,366 6,143 14.5
Exports 282 667 136.9
Total 5,648 6,810 20.6
Vessel Imports 1,840 1,936 5.3
Exports 594 734 23.6
Total 2,434 2,671 9.7
Air Imports 911 857 -5.9
Exports 1,398 1,531 9.5
Total 2,309 2,388 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 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, August 2013

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 3,488 2,347 5,835
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 872 2,531 3,403
Pipepline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 667 6,109 6,776
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 561 1,640 2,201
Air Computer-Related Machinery and Parts 367 155 522

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   August 2012 August 2013 Percent Change August 2012-2013
All Modes Imports 23,688 24,005 1.3
Exports 19,169 19,155 -0.1
Total 42,857 43,159 0.7
All Surface Modes Imports 19,002 19,609 3.2
Exports 15,284 15,496 1.4
Total 34,287 35,105 2.4
Truck Imports 15,711 15,750 0.2
Exports 12,593 12,870 2.2
Total 28,304 28,620 1.1
Rail Imports 3,274 3,838 17.2
Exports 2,340 2,343 0.1
Total 5,614 6,180 10.1
Pipeline Imports 18 22 21.9
Exports 351 282 -19.5
Total 369 304 -17.5
Vessel Imports 3,556 3,305 -7.1
Exports 2,421 2,217 -8.4
Total 5,977 5,522 -7.6
Air Imports 757 595 -21.4
Exports 635 629 -1.0
Total 1,392 1,224 -12.1

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, August 2013

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,762 4,482 7,244
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 550 2,882 3,433
Pipepline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 282 22 304
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,276 2,694 3,969
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 243 181 425

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

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