North American Transborder Freight Data

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April 2014 North American Freight Numbers

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Figure 1.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: 
April 2013 - April 2014

Table Version | Excel

Figure 1.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: April 2013 - April 2014

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics,

Two of five transportation modes – pipeline and trucks – carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in April 2014 than in April 2013 as U.S.-NAFTA trade value rose to $100.1 billion, according to the TransBorder freight data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Figure 1, Table 2).

The increases came in two modes that combined carry more than two-thirds of total U.S.-NAFTA trade. Trucks, at 60.3 percent of the April trade, and pipeline, at 8.6 percent, carried a total of 69.0 percent of the trade. 

A 4.2 percent increase in imports by truck offset a 2.5 percent decline in exports from year-to-year. Imports from Canada and Mexico both increased while exports by truck on each of the borders decreased. An increase in both imports and exports by pipeline across the Canadian border pushed pipeline’s share of total trade to 8.6 percent from 6.8 percent in April 2013 (Table 2, 4, 6).

The April 2014 trade total was a 1.2 percent increase from April 2013 (Table 2). U.S.-NAFTA trade has increased from the same month of the previous year in nine of the last 10 months, interrupted by a 0.2 percent decrease in January.  The January decline reflected the severe weather in the northern states and along the U.S.-Canada border.

Trade by Mode
In April, commodities moving by pipeline grew the most of any mode, 27.8 percent.
Truck freight increased 0.7 percent, rail declined 1.8 percent followed by declines in air at 3.1 and vessel at 13.2 (Figure 1, Table 2). The increase in the value of freight carried by pipelines reflects both a rise in the volume and prices for oil and other petroleum products, the primary commodity transported by pipelines.

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks carried 60.3 percent of U.S.-NAFTA trade in April 2014, accounting for $30.6 billion of exports and $29.8 billion of imports.  

Although the value of freight carried by rail decreased from year to year, rail remained the second largest mode moving 14.7 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA trade, followed by pipeline at 8.6 percent, vessel at 7.9 percent and air at 3.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.7 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows (Table 2).

Trade with Canada
Year-to-year, the value of U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline increased the most of any mode, growing 28.8 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 95.3 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in April. Vessel freight exports to Canada increased 18.5 percent while imports declined 33.3 percent; a total vessel trade decline of 16.6 percent.

Trade using trucks rose by 0.4 percent while air freight declined 7.7 percent. U.S.-Canada trade by rail declined 6.5 percent, with an 11.3 percent fall in imports, due in part to a decrease in trade of vehicles and parts (Figure 2, Tables 2, 4).

Trucks carried 54.4 percent of the $55.8 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail at 15.8 percent, pipeline at 14.8 percent, vessel at 4.9 percent and air at 4.2 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.9 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 4).

Figure 2.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode:
April 2013 - April 2014

Table Version | Excel

Figure 2.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode: April 2013 - April 2014

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics,

Trade with Mexico
Year-to-year, the value of trade by pipeline increased the most of any mode, growing 10.8 percent, but pipeline trade remained less than 1 percent of total U.S.-Mexico trade and the smallest of the modes based on value (Table 6).  Trade with Mexico by truck rose 1.1 percent and rail freight rose 6.1 percent.  Air freight also rose 6.1 percent while freight moved by vessel declined 11.2 percent (Figure 3).   

Trucks carried 67.8 percent of the $44.4 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail at 13.4 percent, vessel at 11.7 percent, air at 3.0 percent and pipeline at 0.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.1 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 6).

Figure 3.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode:
April 2013 - April 2014

Table Version | Excel

Figure 3.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode: April 2013 - April 2014

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics,

Commodities
In April 2014, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $8.2 billion, or 64.2 percent, moved by pipeline (Table 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in April 2014 was electrical machinery, of which $7.3 billion, or 91.7 percent, moved by trucks (Table 7). 

Reporting Notes
Press releases and the BTS website define surface transportation modes as truck, rail and pipeline. See  on the BTS website for additional data for surface modes since 1995 and all modes since 2004. The category of all modes of transportation cited in the following tables includes freight movements by truck, rail, vessel, pipeline, air, and unknown modes of transport.      

Data in this press release are not adjusted for inflation. Additional summary data adjusted for inflation and exchange rates can be found on the BTS website under . The BLS indexes used in the adjustments for inflation and exchange rates may be revised in each of the three months after original publication. For more information, see TransBorder Press Releases  for previous press releases and summary tables. See for data from previous months, and more state, port, or commodity data.  BTS has scheduled the release of May TransBorder numbers for July 24.

Table 1. Value of Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows

(millions of current dollars)

Month201220132014Percent Change 2012-2013Percent Change 2013-2014
January87,49090,51290,3263.5-0.2
February89,38588,44989,557-1.01.3
March99,51095,566101,478-4.06.2
April92,19998,984100,1417.41.2
May96,84098,577 1.8 
June94,20093,483 -0.8 
July87,69193,192 6.3 
August94,59396,526 2.0 
September89,87594,350 5.0 
October98,632103,089 4.5 
November94,87796,120 1.3 
December84,69590,083 6.4 
Year-to-date368,584373,511381,5021.32.1
Annual1,109,9881,138,931 2.6 

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 2. Value of Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode April 2013April 2014Percent Change April 2013-2014
All ModesImports52,92553,6941.5
Exports46,06046,4470.8
Total98,984100,1411.2
All Surface ModesImports44,04245,8744.2
Exports37,66937,8980.6
Total81,71183,7712.5
TruckImports28,56929,7964.3
Exports31,38430,606-2.5
Total59,95360,4020.7
RailImports9,5729,174-4.2
Exports5,4105,5402.4
Total14,98314,713-1.8
PipelineImports5,9006,90417.0
Exports8751,753100.4
Total6,7758,65627.8
VesselImports5,9184,589-22.5
Exports3,1783,3094.2
Total9,0957,898-13.2
AirImports1,6521,607-2.7
Exports2,1432,069-3.4
Total3,7953,676-3.1

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 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 modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air 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. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode

April 2014 Compared to April in...Percent Change
TruckRailPipelineAirVesselAll Modes
20130.7-1.827.8-3.1-13.21.2
20129.45.427.27.9-12.38.6
201118.515.633.4-0.5-18.015.0
201030.830.963.38.516.831.8
200968.199.8159.325.792.476.4
200822.417.64.93.7-7.116.0
200733.429.979.330.841.536.4
200640.637.296.126.827.541.4
200546.746.1135.341.070.852.8
200458.158.4197.132.3123.968.3

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 4. Value of Monthly U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode April 2013April 2014Percent Change April 2013-2014
All ModesImports28,59129,2132.2
Exports26,15826,5591.5
Total54,74955,7721.9
All Surface ModesImports24,56425,6334.4
Exports21,43421,7191.3
Total45,99847,3522.9
TruckImports12,30313,0826.3
Exports17,89517,239-3.7
Total30,19830,3200.4
RailImports6,3825,663-11.3
Exports3,0153,1243.6
Total9,3968,787-6.5
PipelineImports5,8796,88917.2
Exports5251,357158.5
Total6,4048,24628.8
VesselImports2,2091,473-33.3
Exports1,0521,24618.5
Total3,2612,720-16.6
AirImports971940-3.2
Exports1,5641,399-10.5
Total2,5352,339-7.7

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 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 modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air 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 Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, April 2014

(millions of current dollars)

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All ModesMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes3,1289,67112,799
TruckVehicles Other than Railway3,2072,7385,946
RailVehicles Other than Railway9631,8812,844
PipelineMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes1,3476,8648,211
VesselMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes1,0931,2322,325
AirElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts320151472

Source: Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

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

Table 6. Value of Monthly U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode April 2013April 2014Percent Change April 2013-2014
All ModesImports24,33424,4810.6
Exports19,90119,888-0.1
Total44,23544,3700.3
All Surface ModesImports19,47820,2403.9
Exports16,23516,179-0.3
Total35,71236,4192.0
TruckImports16,26616,7152.8
Exports13,48913,367-0.9
Total29,75630,0821.1
RailImports3,1913,51110.0
Exports2,3952,4160.9
Total5,5865,9276.1
PipelineImports2115-29.6
Exports35039613.2
Total37141110.8
VesselImports3,7083,115-16.0
Exports2,1262,063-3.0
Total5,8345,178-11.2
AirImports681667-2.0
Exports57967015.7
Total1,2601,3376.1

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 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 modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air 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 Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, April 2014

(millions of current dollars)

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All ModesElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts3,1634,7667,929
TruckElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts2,8444,4247,267
RailVehicles Other than Railway5022,5643,067
PipelineMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes39615410
VesselMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes1,1232,3653,488
AirElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts238175413

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data,

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

Updated: Wednesday, December 6, 2017
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