Buffalo-Niagara Falls was the nation's fourth busiest land border gateway by value for imports and exports transported across the border by highways, railroads, and pipelines in 2008. Its land ports were the 10th leading gateway when compared with all U.S. land, air, and sea freight gateways.
In 2008, merchandise trade passing through Buffalo-Niagara Falls ($81 billion) accounted for nearly 10 percent of the value of U.S. total land trade. These freight shipments accounted for more than 11 percent of all U.S. land exports and 9 percent of land imports. Buffalo-Niagara Falls was a major gateway for both exports and imports, with outbound shipments and inbound shipments each accounting for 50 percent of the value of freight handled by its land ports in 2008 (table 1).
Trucking was the most heavily used mode of transportation for freight passing through Buffalo-Niagara Falls, accounting for 73 percent ($59 billion) of the value of land trade in 2008. Trucking's share of the value of goods passing through Buffalo-Niagara Falls has remained relatively steady since 2000, hovering between 75 and 79 percent. In 2008, rail carried about $11 billion of land freight, accounting for 14 percent of the value of the gateway's land trade, down from 21 percent in 2000 (table 2). By weight, trucking accounted for the largest share of the land imports tonnage (see insert table).
Buffalo-Niagara Falls is an international gateway that serves almost every state. About 82 percent of the value of truck freight passing through Buffalo-Niagara Falls originated or terminated outside New York. Nearly 75 percent of truck imports and 87 percent of truck exports passing through Buffalo-Niagara Falls were to and from other states (table 1). The top three states served by land transportation facilities in Buffalo-Niagara Falls were New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, which accounted for 40 percent of the merchandise trade transported through the gateway (table 3).
Nearly one million trucks a year use the Peace Bridge and the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge in Buffalo-Niagara Falls to haul freight into the United States from Canada. In 2008, more than 981,000 trucks entered the United States via these bridges, down 10 percent from 2007 (figure 1). Since 2000, truck containers entering the United States through Buffalo-Niagara Falls have declined 17 percent, and rail containers have fallen 33 percent (table 4).