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September 2012 Surface Trade with Canada and Mexico Fell 0.1 Percent From September 2011

Release Number: 
BTS 54-12

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Table Version | Excel | CSVFigure 1: Trade Among the U.S. and NAFTA Countries, January 2004-September 2012
Unadjusted and Adjusted for Inflation and Exchange Rate Fluctuations

Figure 1: Figure 1: Trade Among the U.S. and NAFTA Countries, January 2004-September 2012.

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, 
U.S. export data adjusted based on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), . U.S. imports adjusted based on BLS , January 2004 = 100. See Technical Note in press release text.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, was 0.1 percent lower in September 2012 than in September 2011, totaling $77.7 billion, unadjusted for inflation (Table 1 and Figure 1), according to the EmEdjimurjE (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. This is the first year over year decrease since November 2009. Adjusted for inflation and exchange rates, the September 2012 total was $56.3 billion in 2004 dollars, up 1.4 percent from September 2011.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the September 2012 value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico rose 35.6 percent from September 2009, shortly after the end of the last recession (Table 3). Data in the press release are not adjusted for inflation, except for monthly totals in Figure 1.

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico in September increased by 69.6 percent compared to September 2002, a period of 10 years. Imports in September were up 57.4 percent since September 2002, while exports were up 85.9 percent (Figure 2 and Table 3). See Transborder Press Releases for historical data.

Surface transportation includes freight movements by truck, rail, pipeline, mail,  modes of transport, and goods moving into Foreign Trade Zones. In September, 86.4 percent of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moved via land, 9.5 percent moved by vessel, and 4.1 percent moved by air (Figure 3).

Figure 2: North American Freight by Mode, September 2012

Table Version | Excel | CSV

Figure 2: North American Freight by Mode, September 2012

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, 

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico decreased 5.8 percent in September 2012 from August 2012 (Table 2). Month-to-month changes can be affected by seasonal variations, the number of days in each month, and other factors.

Figure 3: U.S. Surface Trade with Canada and Mexico, Month of September 1995-2012
Unadjusted for Inflation and Exchange Rate Fluctuations

Table Version | Excel | CSV

Figure 3: U.S. Surface Trade with Canada and Mexico, Month of September 1995-2012

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, 

U.S.-Mexico September 2012 trade reached $32.0 billion, a 1.2 percent increase from September 2011, while U.S.-Canada trade was $45.7 billion, a 0.9 percent decrease due to a decrease in imports from Canada (Figure 3). For trade statistics by mode, see Table 4 for Canada and Table 6 for Mexico. For the 12-month period ending in September 2012, U.S. trade by surface transportation with Mexico has increased, while U.S. trade with Canada decreased.

In September, Michigan led all states in surface trade with Canada, at $6.1 billion, a 2.9 percent increase from September 2011 (Table 5). Of the top 10 states by value in trade with Canada, six of them had a year-to-year decrease in trade, led by Pennsylvania with a 17.2 percent decrease, primarily due to declines of more than 25 percent in trade in iron and steel, paper, pharmaceutical products, and oil and gas.

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by surface modes of transportation in September was vehicles, valued at $8.9 billion (Table 8).

Texas continued to lead all states in surface trade with Mexico at $11.6 billion, a 4.5 percent increase from September 2011. Of the top 10 states by value in trade with Mexico, Michigan had the biggest percentage increase, 10.5 percent, and California had the largest percentage decrease, 13.1 percent (Table 7). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico by surface modes of transportation in September was electrical machinery with $7.1 billion in trade (Table 9).

Technical Note: The BLS indexes used in the Figure 1 adjustment may be revised in each of the three months after original publication. For example, index values released in January 2012 were subject to revision in February, March and April of that year.

For more information, see Transborder Press Releases for previous press releases and summary tables. See  for data from previous months, and individual state data. BTS has scheduled the release of September TransBorder numbers for Nov. 27.

TABLE 1. VALUE OF MONTHLY U.S. SURFACE TRANSPORTATION TRADE WITH CANADA AND MEXICO

(millions of dollars)

Excel | CSV

Month201020112012Percent Change 2010-2011Percent Change 2011-2012
January56,69767,73475,53419.511.5
February59,49266,53478,13511.817.4
March69,94380,82285,82715.66.2
April65,83173,76779,78412.18.2
May66,80577,31883,77015.78.3
June69,85977,52182,60111.06.6
July61,26072,36375,69418.14.6
August67,96480,40682,48018.32.6
September68,32477,72577,68013.8-0.1
October70,56579,040 12.0 
November68,06076,672 12.7 
December66,53074,230 11.6 
Year-to-date586,175674,190721,50515.07.0
Annual791,329904,133 14.3 

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, 

NOTE: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

TABLE 2. U.S. SURFACE TRANSPORTATION TRADE WITH CANADA AND MEXICO BY SURFACE MODES OF TRANSPORTATION

(millions of dollars)

Excel | CSV

Mode September 2011August 2012September 2012Percent Change August 2012 - September 2012Percent Change September 2011 - 2012
All Surface ModesImports41,91443,67341,238-5.6-1.6
Exports35,81138,80836,442-6.11.8
Total77,72582,48077,680-5.8-0.1
TruckImports26,25027,46425,523-7.1-2.8
Exports27,82429,90527,647-7.5-0.6
RailImports8,5979,2458,979-2.94.4
Exports4,6885,4015,052-6.57.8
PipelineImports5,9175,3844,977-7.6-15.9
Exports76763298856.228.9

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, 

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all surface modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail and pipeline 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:

TABLE 3. SEPTEMBER 2012 SURFACE TRANSPORTATION TRADE WITH CANADA AND MEXICO COMPARED WITH SEPTEMBER OF PRIOR YEARS

Excel | CSV

Compared to September in...Percent Change
ImportsExportsTotal Surface Trade
2011-1.61.8-0.1
201012.814.813.7
200933.837.635.6
20082.315.78.2
20079.824.816.3
200613.834.722.7
200516.241.927.0
200431.155.441.5
200346.875.559.0
200257.485.969.6

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, 

TABLE 4. U.S. SURFACE TRANSPORTATION TRADE WITH CANADA

(millions of dollars)

Excel | CSV

Mode September 2011August 2012September 2012Percent Change August 2012 - September 2012Percent Change September 2011 - 2012
All Surface ModesImports24,48224,29823,572-3.0-3.7
Exports21,63722,69522,120-2.52.2
Total46,11946,99345,692-2.8-0.9
TruckImports11,96511,75311,294-3.9-5.6
Exports16,71217,31116,598-4.1-0.7
RailImports5,7305,9715,856-1.92.2
Exports2,5533,0612,804-8.49.8
PipelineImports5,8845,3664,964-7.5-15.6
Exports432282695146.760.7

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, 

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all surface modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail and pipeline 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:

TABLE 5. TOP 10 STATES TRADING WITH CANADA BY ALL SURFACE MODES OF TRANSPORTATION

Ranked by September 2012 Surface Trade Value

(millions of dollars)

Excel | CSV

StateSeptember 2011September 2012Percent Change September 2011-2012
ValueRankValueRank
Michigan5,95816,12812.9
Illinois4,42324,61724.4
California2,79843,03038.3
Texas2,62362,74344.6
Ohio2,89232,7285-5.7
New York2,63452,2516-14.6
Washington1,73281,6057-7.3
Pennsylvania1,90571,5778-17.2
Minnesota1,61091,5159-5.9
Indiana1,477101,46010-1.1

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, 

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

TABLE 6. U.S. SURFACE TRANSPORTATION TRADE WITH MEXICO

(millions of dollars)

Excel | CSV

Mode September 2011August 2012September 2012Percent Change August 2012 - September 2012Percent Change September 2011 - 2012
All Surface ModesImports17,43219,37517,667-8.81.3
Exports14,17416,11314,322-11.11.0
Total31,60635,48731,989-9.91.2
TruckImports14,28415,71114,229-9.4-0.4
Exports11,11312,59311,049-12.3-0.6
RailImports2,8663,2743,123-4.68.9
Exports2,1342,3402,248-3.95.3
PipelineImports331813-25.6-59.2
Exports334351293-16.5-12.3

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, 

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all surface modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail and pipeline 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:

TABLE 7. TOP 10 STATES TRADING WITH MEXICO BY ALL SURFACE MODES OF TRANSPORTATION

Ranked by September 2012 Surface Trade Value

(millions of dollars)

Excel | CSV

StateSeptember 2011September 2012Percent Change September 2011-2012
ValueRankValueRank
Texas11,068111,56914.5
California4,82524,1942-13.1
Michigan3,63634,017310.5
Illinois1,01741,08947.1
Arizona834686754.0
Ohio86758586-1.0
Tennessee653770978.6
Indiana60785608-7.7
North Carolina5181055997.9
Georgia43012433100.9

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, 

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

TABLE 8. TOP FIVE COMMODITIES TRANSPORTED BETWEEN THE U.S. AND CANADA BY ALL SURFACE MODES OF TRANSPORTATION, SEPTEMBER 2012

(millions of dollars)

Excel | CSV

CommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
Vehicles Other than Railway3,9964,9188,914
Oil and Gas1,2576,2687,524
Computer-Related Machinery and Parts3,6541,5625,217
Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts2,0055192,524
Plastics1,0458301,875

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, 

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

TABLE 9. TOP FIVE COMMODITIES TRANSPORTED BETWEEN THE U.S. AND MEXICO BY ALL SURFACE MODES OF TRANSPORTATION, SEPTEMBER 2012

(millions of dollars)

Excel | CSV

CommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts2,4914,5857,076
Vehicles Other than Railway1,6504,1685,819
Computer-Related Machinery and Parts2,6563,0315,687
Plastics1,1142851,399
Measuring and Testing Instruments3797951,174

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, 

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

Updated: Monday, November 27, 2017
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