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U.S. Freight Shipments with Canada and Mexico in 2004 Topped Pre-9/11 Levels, According to an Updated Three-Country Database

U.S. Freight Shipments with Canada and Mexico in 2004 Topped Pre-9/11 Levels, According to an Updated Three-Country Database

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BTS 48-05
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 — The amount of goods transported across U.S. borders in trade with Canada and Mexico set a new record in 2004, exceeding a previous high set in 2000, the last full year before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) on the North American Transportation Statistics (NATS) online database.

The United States traded $712 billion in goods with Canada and Mexico in 2004, topping the previous high of $654 billion in 2000 by $58 billion. The 2004 trade level was a 13 percent increase from 2003 when $629 billion was traded. Trade in 2004 was up 18 percent from the low of $604 billion in 2002 (See Table).

The North American Transportation Statistics (NATS) online database is sponsored by BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), and other cooperating transportation and statistical agencies in the United States , Canada and Mexico .

The value of freight shipments moving between the United States , Canada and Mexico has risen 88 percent since 1995, growing at an average rate of 7 percent per year. Since 1995, the total value of U.S. freight shipments with Mexico has grown 146 percent or almost 11 percent annually. Trade with Canada grew 64 percent or almost 6 percent annually.

Trucks carried almost two-thirds of this freight measured by value - $453 billion in 2004. Rail carried 15 percent, followed by maritime with 6 percent, and air and pipeline with 5 percent each. Freight transported by trucks represented the largest modal increase in value from 2003 to 2004 up $49 billion, followed by rail up $12 billion and maritime up $8 billion.

Trade by pipeline with Canada grew 13 percent annually from 2000 to 2004, making it the fastest growing form of transportation during the four-year period. Total trade by water with Canada and Mexico grew annually by a combined 9 percent during that time while trade by the largest mode by value, truck, grew just over 1 percent annually.

A product of the North American Transportation Statistics Interchange established in 1991, the NATS database provides three-country comparative information on transportation activity and its impact. It covers information on 12 subject areas: country overview, transportation and the economy, transportation safety, transportation impact on energy and the environment, domestic freight activity, North American merchandise trade, international merchandise trade, domestic passenger travel, North American passenger travel, international passenger travel, transportation infrastructure and vehicles.

Available in English, French, and Spanish, the NATS database can be found at http://nats.sct.gob.mx/Nats/.

U.S. Merchandise Trade with Canada and Mexico by Freight Transportation Mode

(Billions of current U.S. dollars)

Excel | CSV

  1995 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Annual growth rate (%)
'00 - '04
Percent change, '95 - '04 Annual growth rate (%)
'95 - '04
Total trade with Canada and Mexico 379 653 614 604 629 712 2.2 87.7 7.2
Air 20 45 37 30 28 32 -8 59.1 5.3
Water transport 16 33 29 33 38 46 9 179.7 12.1
Road N 429 395 398 404 453 1.4
Rail N 94 93 92 96 108 3.6
Pipeline N 24 26 23 32 38 13
Total: percent change from previous year 2001-2004 -6.1 -1.6 4.2 13.1
Total trade with Canada 271 406 381 371 394 445 2.3 64.1 5.7
Air 17 31 25 21 20 23 -8 32 3.1
Water transport 7 9 9 9 11 14 11.3 111.5 8.7
Road N 258 235 236 241 269 1.1
Rail N 63 60 61 65 75 4.4
Pipeline N 23 26 22 32 38 13.3
Total: percent change from previous year 2001-2004 -6.1 -2.4 6 13.1
Total trade with Mexico 108 246 233 232 236 267 1.9 146.8 10.6
Air 3 13 12 9 8 10 -8 205.5 13.2
Water transport 10 24 20 23 27 32 8.1 224.8 14
Road N 171 161 162 163 184 1.9
Rail N 32 32 31 31 34 1.7
Pipeline N 0.3 0.3 0.6 0.2 0.1 -27.4
Total: percent change from previous year, 2001-2004 -5.9 -0.3 1.4 13.2

KEY: N = Data are not available for certain categories, but are included in all annual totals.

NOTE: Individual modes do not sum to total trade figures because the total excludes freight moved by "other modes" such as aircraft from manufacturer to customers, pedestrians carrying freight, and miscellaneous.

NOTE: Due to the rounding of certain numbers tabulated, sum totals of U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico trade vary slightly.

SOURCE: North American Transportation Statistics database. Available at http://nats.sct.gob.mx/nats, October 2005.