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August 2014 North American Freight Numbers

Press Release Number: 
BTS 49-14
Date: 
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

PDF | Excel

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

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $100.6 billion in August 2014 as all five major transportation modes – air, vessel, pipeline, rail, and trucks – carried more U.S.-NAFTA freight than in August 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). August was the sixth consecutive month with U.S.-NAFTA freight flows exceeding $100 billion.

Freight by Mode

In August, the value of commodities moving by vessel grew by the largest percentage of any mode, 11.7 percent. Pipeline freight increased 6.8 percent followed by a rail increase of 3.4 percent, a truck increase of 3.3 percent, and an air increase of 2.3 percent (Figure 1, Table 2).

Of the $4.2 billion increase in the value of US-NAFTA freight from August 2013, truck freight contributed the most, $1.9 billion, followed by rail, $514 million (Table 2). The trucking increase was due almost entirely to growth in truck freight with Mexico as U.S.-Canada truck trade remained almost unchanged (Tables 4, 6).

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks carried 59.6 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight in August 2014, accounting for $31.2 billion of exports and $28.8 billion of imports.  

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 15.5 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel at 9.2 percent, pipeline at 7.4 percent, and air at 3.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.5 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:
August 2013 - August 2014

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Year-over-year, the percent change in the value of U.S.-Canada freight moved by vessel increased the most of any mode, growing 46.9 percent (Figure 2), driven primarily by exports of mineral fuels. Freight moved by pipeline increased 6.1 percent and rail increased by 2.2 percent, while truck and air were essentially unchanged.

Trucks carried 53.0 percent of the $55.5 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail at 16.4 percent, pipeline at 12.8 percent, vessel at 7.1 percent and air at 4.3 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.2 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 4).

U.S.-Mexico Freight

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

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Year-over-year, the value of pipeline freight rose 21.1 percent, the largest percentage increase of any U.S.-Mexico mode (Figure 3). Freight moved by air increased 6.7 percent, truck by 6.6 percent and rail by 5.2.  Vessel decreased by 5.3 percent; the decrease in vessel freight was principally due to a decline in mineral fuels imports.

Trucks carried 67.7 percent of the $45.1 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail at 14.4 percent, vessel at 11.7 percent, air at 2.9 percent and pipeline at 0.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.9 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 6).

Commodities
In August 2014, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $7.1 billion, or 56.0 percent, moved by pipeline (Table 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in August 2014 was electrical machinery, of which $7.5 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.      

BTS is revising the TransBorder Freight Data beginning with January 2009 to include a masking of Aircraft and Airplane parts data.  The revision brings the TransBorder Freight Data into conformity with current U.S. Census Bureau policies and practices.  In addition, an error involving the exportation of autos and auto parts by rail at the port of Ambrose, North Dakota, from December 2009 to August 2013 has been corrected.  Finally, the revised data for 2009 to 2013 also include the Census Bureau’s annual foreign trade data revisions.  

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 Nov. 25.

 

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 87,383 90,766 90,326 3.9 -0.5
February 89,294 88,894 89,557 -0.4 0.7
March 99,726 95,757 101,478 -4.0 6.0
April 92,278 98,956 100,141 7.2 1.2
May 96,778 98,742 103,942 2.0 5.3
June 94,178 93,502 102,978 -0.7 10.1
July 87,815 93,080 101,075 6.0 8.6
August 94,847 96,426 100,624 1.7 4.4
September 89,809 94,465   5.2  
October 98,612 103,140   4.6  
November 94,927 96,136   1.3  
December 84,766 90,906   7.2  
Year-to-date 742,298 756,123 790,121 1.9 4.5
Annual 1,110,413 1,140,770   2.7  

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 2013 August 2014 Percent Change August 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 51,781 53,669 3.6
Exports 44,645 46,955 5.2
Total 96,426 100,624 4.4
All Surface Modes Imports 43,380 44,950 3.6
Exports 36,728 38,057 3.6
Total 80,108 83,007 3.6
Truck Imports 27,453 28,759 4.8
Exports 30,557 31,163 2.0
Total 58,010 59,922 3.3
Rail Imports 9,851 9,790 -0.6
Exports 5,227 5,801 11.0
Total 15,077 15,591 3.4
Pipeline Imports 6,077 6,402 5.4
Exports 944 1,093 15.7
Total 7,021 7,495 6.8
Vessel Imports 5,264 5,250 -0.3
Exports 2,995 3,974 32.7
Total 8,259 9,224 11.7
Air Imports 1,448 1,653 14.1
Exports 2,171 2,049 -5.6
Total 3,620 3,702 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_DataFields.html.

 

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

August 2014 Compared to August in... Percent Change
Truck Rail Pipeline Air Vessel All Modes
2013 3.3 3.4 6.8 2.3 11.7 4.4
2012 3.8 6.4 25.4 -1.9 7.7 6.1
2011 6.7 21.7 3.5 -10.4 3.5 8.1
2010 24.0 37.6 39.0 -6.8 34.5 27.2
2009 55.9 85.1 75.3 25.0 61.6 59.9
2008 27.9 19.3 -12.0 8.4 -2.5 18.2
2007 24.7 29.0 52.3 12.7 38.3 27.2
2006 28.1 40.2 48.2 18.3 34.7 31.8
2005 40.1 61.6 63.2 37.9 60.8 46.7
2004 56.0 71.2 129.4 42.2 122.2 66.8

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode   August 2013 August 2014 Percent Change August 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 27,789 28,903 4.0
Exports 25,433 26,618 4.7
Total 53,222 55,521 4.3
All Surface Modes Imports 23,786 24,264 2.0
Exports 21,223 21,361 0.7
Total 45,009 45,625 1.4
Truck Imports 11,708 11,960 2.1
Exports 17,683 17,445 -1.3
Total 29,391 29,405 0.0
Rail Imports 6,023 5,924 -1.6
Exports 2,880 3,172 10.1
Total 8,903 9,096 2.2
Pipeline Imports 6,055 6,380 5.4
Exports 660 745 12.9
Total 6,715 7,125 6.1
Vessel Imports 1,959 2,169 10.7
Exports 728 1,779 144.3
Total 2,687 3,948 46.9
Air Imports 855 1,086 27.0
Exports 1,544 1,314 -14.9
Total 2,400 2,400 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.

 

Table 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, August 2014

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 2,879 9,776 12,655
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 3,061 2,271 5,332
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 999 2,345 3,343
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 730 6,361 7,091
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,470 1,814 3,284
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 327 130 456

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 2013 August 2014 Percent Change August 2013-2014
All Modes Imports 23,992 24,766 3.2
Exports 19,213 20,337 5.9
Total 43,204 45,103 4.4
All Surface Modes Imports 19,594 20,687 5.6
Exports 15,506 16,696 7.7
Total 35,100 37,382 6.5
Truck Imports 15,745 16,799 6.7
Exports 12,874 13,718 6.6
Total 28,619 30,517 6.6
Rail Imports 3,828 3,865 1.0
Exports 2,347 2,629 12.0
Total 6,174 6,495 5.2
Pipeline Imports 22 23 4.3
Exports 285 348 22.3
Total 306 371 21.1
Vessel Imports 3,305 3,081 -6.8
Exports 2,267 2,195 -3.1
Total 5,572 5,277 -5.3
Air Imports 593 567 -4.4
Exports 627 735 17.2
Total 1,220 1,302 6.7

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

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
All Modes Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 3,219 4,972 8,191
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,877 4,634 7,511
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 610 2,822 3,433
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 348 23 371
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,273 2,290 3,563
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 247 197 444

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

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