U.S. International Trade in Transportation-Related Services

U.S. International Trade in Transportation-Related Services

U.S. trade in transportation services totaled $133.5 billion (in current dollars1) in 2004, up 67 percent from $79.8 billion in 1994 (figure 11-4). However, this growth in transportation-related services trade has not been steady as increases in 2002 and 2003 occurred after two years of decline [1].

By 2004, 58 percent of trade was imports (payments to foreign countries), resulting in a trade deficit of $21.5 billion-the largest trade deficit for transportation services since 1998 (figure 11-5). Unlike trade in transportation-related goods, the United States had a surplus in transportation services from 1994 through 1997. The trade surplus was highest in 1996, at $3.3 billion.

U.S. exports and imports in transportation services include freight services provided by carriers; port services provided by airports, seaports, and terminals; and passenger travel services provided by carriers (box 11-A). U.S. trade in transportation services generates substantial revenues for U.S. businesses in receipts to U.S. carriers and ports. These services also result in payments by U.S. companies to foreign freight and passenger carriers and ports. Because an efficient transportation system puts a premium on system reliability and speed, the performance of freight carriers and ports directly influences the competitiveness of U.S. businesses engaged in international trade.


1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, calculations using data from U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, International Transactions Accounts, available at http://www.bea.doc.gov/, as of May 2005.

1 All dollar amounts in this section are in current dollars. While it is useful to compare trends in economic activity using constant or chained dollars to eliminate the effects of price inflation, it is not possible to do so in this instance (see the note on the figures and table 11-4 and table 11-5 in appendix B).