Buffalo–Niagara Falls is our nation’s fourth busiest land border gateway by value for imports and exports transported across the border by highways, railroads, and pipelines. And its land ports are our ninth leading gateway when compared with all U.S. freight gateways—land, air, and sea.
In 2003, merchandise trade passing through Buffalo–Niagara Falls ($59 billion) accounted for nearly 11 percent of the value of U.S. total land trade. These freight shipments accounted for over 11 percent of all U.S. land exports and 10 percent of land imports. Buffalo–Niagara Falls is a major gateway for both exports and imports, with outbound shipments accounting for 46 percent and inbound shipments 54 percent of the value of freight handled by its land ports in 2003.
Trucking is the most heavily used mode of transportation for freight passing through Buffalo–Niagara Falls, accounting for 77 percent ($46 billion) of the value of land trade through the port in 2003. Truck’s share of the value of goods passing through Buffalo-Niagara Falls has remained relatively steady for the past five years, hovering between 75 and 79 percent. By weight, trucking accounts for the largest share of the land imports tonnage (see insert table). In 2003, rail carried about $9 billion of land freight, accounting for 15 percent of the value of Buffalo-Niagara Falls’ land trade, down from 24 percent in 1999.
Buffalo–Niagara Falls is an international gateway that serves every state. About 80 percent of the value of truck freight passing through Buffalo–Niagara Falls originates or terminates outside of New York. Nearly 76 percent of truck imports and 84 percent of truck exports passing through Buffalo–Niagara Falls are to and from other states. The top three states served by Buffalo–Niagara Falls’ land transportation facilities are New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, which account for 38 percent of the merchandise trade transported through Buffalo–Niagara Falls.
Over one million trucks per year use the Peace Bridge in Buffalo–Niagara Falls and the Lewiston/Queenston Bridge to haul freight into the United States from Canada. Between 1994 and 2003, the number of trucks entering the United States through these facilities increased by 31 percent (figure 1). Since 1999, truck containers entering the United States through Buffalo– Niagara Falls increased by 5 percent and rail containers fell by 6 percent.