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

Press Release Number: 
BTS 54-13
Date: 
Monday, December 9, 2013
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

PDF | Excel

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

Excel | Table Version

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Three of the five transportation modes carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in September 2013 than in September 2012 as the value of overall U.S. trade with its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, rose 5.0 percent from year to year, according to the September 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 14.2 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 5.4 percent while rail rose 8.1 percent.  Vessel declined 4.3 percent and air 0.1 percent (Figure 1).

Trucks carried 59.4 percent of the $94.4 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in September 2013 accounting for $29.1 billion of exports and $27.0 billion of imports (Table 2). Trucks were followed by rail at 16.1 percent, vessels at 8.6 percent, pipeline at 7.2 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 2).

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

Excel | Table Version

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Trade with Canada
U.S.-Canada trade by vessel, of which 65.4 percent was imported, had the largest percentage increase of any mode from September 2012 to September 2013, growing 33.0 percent.  Next highest was pipeline trade, which grew 15.2 percent during the same period.  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 grew the least of any mode, 3.0 percent (Figure 3).
For trade with Canada in September, trucks carried 54.2 percent of the $53.1 billion of freight, followed by rail at 16.8 percent, pipelines at 12.3 percent, vessel at 5.8 percent and air at 4.5 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.3 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:
September 2012-September 2013

Excel | Table Version

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Trade with Mexico
U.S.-Mexico trade by rail had the largest percentage increase of any mode from September 2012 to September 2013, growing 16.4 percent, mainly due to a 20 percent increase in vehicles and vehicle parts moving by rail. Freight moved by vessel between the U.S. and Mexico decreased by 18.2 percent due to a 25 percent drop in the value of mineral fuels (primarily oil and natural gas) moving between the U.S. and Mexico by vessel (Figure 4).   

For trade with Mexico in September, trucks carried 66.0 percent of the $41.3 billion of the freight, followed by rail at 15.1 percent, vessel at 12.3 percent, air at 3.1 percent and pipelines at 0.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.8 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:
September 2012-September 2013

Excel | Table Version

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data

Commodities
In September 2013, the top commodity group transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $6.5 billion moved by pipeline (Table 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in September 2013 was electrical machinery, of which $7.0 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 September. The dotted slices represent surface modes, which accounted for 82.7 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 October TransBorder numbers for January 7, 2014.

 

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
September 90,771 89,875 94,350 -1.0 5.0
October 91,837 98,632   7.4  
November 90,401 94,877   5.0  
December 86,775 84,695   -2.4  
Year-to-date 788,911 831,784 849,639 5.4 2.1
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   September 2012 September 2013 Percent Change September 2012-2013
All Modes Imports 48,246 51,427 6.6
Exports 41,629 42,923 3.1
Total 89,875 94,350 5.0
All Surface Modes Imports 39,479 42,928 8.7
Exports 33,687 35,081 4.1
Total 73,165 78,009 6.6
Truck Imports 25,523 26,973 5.7
Exports 27,647 29,054 5.1
Total 53,170 56,027 5.4
Rail Imports 8,979 9,768 8.8
Exports 5,052 5,405 7.0
Total 14,031 15,173 8.1
Pipeline Imports 4,977 6,187 24.3
Exports 988 622 -37.0
Total 5,965 6,809 14.2
Vessel Imports 5,375 5,040 -6.2
Exports 3,133 3,102 -1.0
Total 8,508 8,143 -4.3
Air Imports 1,632 1,585 -2.9
Exports 2,054 2,098 2.1
Total 3,686 3,682 -0.1

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_DataF....

 

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

September 2013 Compared to September in... Percent Change
Truck Rail Pipeline Air Vessel All Modes
2012 5.4 8.1 14.2 -0.1 -4.3 5.0
2011 3.6 14.2 1.9 -10.4 -8.9 3.9
2010 15.6 34.0 42.7 -7.5 28.3 20.0
2009 36.4 72.1 56.7 7.1 51.4 42.7
2008 16.5 29.1 -14.2 4.9 4.4 13.5
2007 20.5 23.5 50.8 13.4 30.4 23.7
2006 24.9 45.5 55.2 21.3 41.6 30.9
2005 31.3 50.1 40.9 24.6 66.4 36.7
2004 42.6 59.3 111.9 31.1 107.5 53.0

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   September 2012 September 2013 Percent Change September 2012-2013
All Modes Imports 26,033 28,152 8.1
Exports 24,179 24,925 3.1
Total 50,211 53,078 5.7
All Surface Modes Imports 22,114 23,835 7.8
Exports 20,097 20,400 1.5
Total 42,211 44,235 4.8
Truck Imports 11,294 11,792 4.4
Exports 16,598 17,002 2.4
Total 27,892 28,794 3.2
Rail Imports 5,856 5,877 0.4
Exports 2,804 3,046 8.6
Total 8,660 8,923 3.0
Pipeline Imports 4,964 6,166 24.2
Exports 695 353 -49.3
Total 5,659 6,518 15.2
Vessel Imports 1,624 2,009 23.7
Exports 686 1,063 54.9
Total 2,310 3,072 33.0
Air Imports 837 946 13.0
Exports 1,373 1,449 5.6
Total 2,210 2,395 8.4

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, September 2013

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
Truck Vehicles Other than Railway 3,303 2,467 5,770
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 977 2,441 3,418
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 353 6,154 6,507
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 812 1,687 2,499
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 343 152 496

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   September 2012 September 2013 Percent Change September 2012-2013
All Modes Imports 22,213 23,274 4.8
Exports 17,451 17,997 3.1
Total 39,664 41,272 4.1
All Surface Modes Imports 17,365 19,093 9.9
Exports 13,590 14,681 8.0
Total 30,955 33,773 9.1
Truck Imports 14,229 15,181 6.7
Exports 11,049 12,052 9.1
Total 25,278 27,233 7.7
Rail Imports 3,123 3,891 24.6
Exports 2,248 2,359 4.9
Total 5,371 6,250 16.4
Pipeline Imports 13 21 59.2
Exports 293 270 -7.9
Total 306 291 -5.0
Vessel Imports 3,751 3,031 -19.2
Exports 2,447 2,039 -16.6
Total 6,198 5,071 -18.2
Air Imports 795 639 -19.6
Exports 682 648 -4.9
Total 1,476 1,288 -12.8

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_DataF....

 

Table 7. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, September 2013

(millions of current dollars)

Mode Commodities Exports Imports Total
Truck Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 2,564 4,447 7,010
Rail Vehicles Other than Railway 622 3,009 3,630
Pipeline Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 270 21 291
Vessel Mineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes 1,132 2,533 3,665
Air Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts 230 219 448

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

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