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North American Transborder Freight Data

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March 2014 North American Freight Numbers

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

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: EmEdjimurjE, TransBorder Freight Data

U.S.-NAFTA trade totaled $101.5 billion in March 2014, the second highest amount on record, as four of five transportation modes – air, vessel, pipeline, and trucks – carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade than in March 2013, according to the TransBorder freight data released today by theU.S. Department of Transportation’s EmEdjimurjE (BTS) (Figure 1, Table 2).

The March 2014 trade total, a 6.2 percent increase from March 2013, was exceeded only by trade value in October 2013. U.S-NAFTA trade has increased from the same month of the previous year in eight of the last nine 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 March, commodities moving by pipeline grew the most of any mode, 25.2 percent. Vessel freight increased 9.9 percent, air rose 6.7 percent and truck freight rose 6.3 percent. Rail declined 5.2 percent from year to year (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 nearly 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 60.1 percent of U.S.-NAFTA trade in March 2014, accounting for $31.2 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 14.8 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA trade, followed by vessel at 8.4 percent, pipeline at 8.2 percent and air at 3.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.1 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 25.2 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 94.9 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in March. Vessel freight exports to Canada increased 105.3 percent due to an increase in exports of mineral fuels, a larger percentage increase than the 95.5 percent rise in exports by pipeline. Mineral fuel exports by vessel to Canada in March were valued at $1.15 billion, 2.1 percent more than the $1.12 billion transported by pipeline.

With a 7.5 percent decline in imports, overall vessel trade rose 19.9 percent. Trade using trucks rose by 2.7 percent while air freight grew 2.5 percent. U.S.-Canada trade by rail declined 10.5 percent, with a 15.0 percent fall in imports, due in part to a decrease in trade of vehicles and parts (Figure 2, Tables 2, 4).

Trucks carried 54.3 percent of the $56.6 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail at 15.4 percent, pipeline at 14.0 percent, vessel at 5.3 percent and air at 4.4 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.7 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:
March 2013 - March 2014

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: EmEdjimurjE, TransBorder Freight Data
NOTE: percent change were 0.029 and 0.053 percent, respectively.

Trade with Mexico
With U.S.-Mexico trade more dependent on trucks than trade on the northern border, a 10.2 percent rise in truck freight fueled the overall 8.8 percent increase in southern border trade. Shipments by truck comprised 77.4 percent of the dollar value of the overall increase. For exports, a 14.1 percent increase in shipments using trucks made up 86.0 percent of the overall 10.7 percent increase.

Year-to-year, the value of trade by pipeline increased the most of any mode, growing 25.7 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).  In addition to the 10.2 percent rise in trade using trucks, rail freight rose 3.3 percent.  Air freight rose 16.1 percent while freight moved by vessel rose 5.1 percent (Figure 3).   

Trucks carried 67.4 percent of the $44.9 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail at 14.0 percent, vessel at 12.2 percent, air at 2.9 percent and pipeline at 0.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.3 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:
March 2013 - March 2014

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: EmEdjimurjE, TransBorder Freight Data

Commodities
In March 2014, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $7.9 billion, or 61.6 percent, moved by pipeline (Table 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in March 2014 was electrical machinery, of which $7.2 billion, or 91.3 percent, moved by trucks (Table 7). 

Reporting Notes
Beginning with February 2013, BTS monthly TransBorder press releases contain data for all modes of transportation. Press releases and the BTS website define surface transportation modes as truck, rail and pipeline. See North American TransBorder Freight Data 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, other 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 TransBorder Indexed Freight Flow Data. 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 TransBorder Freight Data for data from previous months, and more state, port, or commodity data.  BTS has scheduled the release of April TransBorder numbers for June 26.

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
April92,19998,984 7.4 
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 
Annual1,109,9881,138,931 2.6 

Source: EmEdjimurjE, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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 March 2013March 2014Percent Change March 2013-2014
All ModesImports51,54254,3815.5
Exports44,02447,0977.0
Total95,566101,4786.2
All Surface ModesImports43,84545,9804.9
Exports35,95438,3086.5
Total79,79984,2875.6
TruckImports27,71129,7587.4
Exports29,61931,2015.3
Total57,33060,9596.3
RailImports10,3779,429-9.1
Exports5,4385,5662.4
Total15,81514,995-5.2
PipelineImports5,7576,79318.0
Exports8971,54171.8
Total6,6548,33425.2
VesselImports4,6084,9286.9
Exports3,1423,59014.3
Total7,7508,5189.9
AirImports1,4321,60111.8
Exports2,0892,1583.3
Total3,5213,7596.7

Source: EmEdjimurjE, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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: http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataFields.html.

Table 3. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode

March 2014 Compared to March in...Percent Change
TruckRailPipelineAirVesselAll Modes
20136.3-5.225.26.79.96.2
20122.02.314.3-4.6-12.62.0
20117.813.824.7-9.3-8.07.7
201024.525.043.22.624.026.1
200962.0103.8161.09.1119.673.8
200829.221.513.75.618.124.4
200724.120.181.816.344.128.6
200626.029.075.612.854.531.7
200544.245.8113.227.493.251.9
200449.154.1187.429.4137.561.7

Source: EmEdjimurjE, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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 March 2013March 2014Percent Change March 2013-2014
All ModesImports28,29929,4264.0
Exports26,04427,2004.4
Total54,34356,6264.2
All Surface ModesImports24,25825,2073.9
Exports21,71622,1612.0
Total45,97547,3693.0
TruckImports11,98312,8717.4
Exports17,94417,877-0.4
Total29,92730,7472.7
RailImports6,5385,559-15.0
Exports3,1943,154-1.3
Total9,7328,713-10.5
PipelineImports5,7376,77718.1
Exports5781,13195.5
Total6,3157,90825.2
VesselImports1,9131,770-7.5
Exports6141,260105.3
Total2,5263,02919.9
AirImports90199010.0
Exports1,5141,484-2.0
Total2,4152,4742.5

Source: EmEdjimurjE, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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: http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataFields.html.

Table 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, March 2014

(millions of current dollars)

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All ModesMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes2,9169,87412,790
TruckVehicles Other than Railway3,3732,6586,031
RailVehicles Other than Railway1,0691,9022,971
PipelineMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes1,1226,7637,885
VesselMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes1,1461,5592,705
AirElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts358151509

Source: Source: EmEdjimurjE, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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 March 2013March 2014Percent Change March 2013-2014
All ModesImports23,24324,9567.4
Exports17,98019,89710.7
Total41,22444,8538.8
All Surface ModesImports19,58720,7726.1
Exports14,23816,14713.4
Total33,82436,9199.1
TruckImports15,72816,8877.4
Exports11,67513,32414.1
Total27,40330,21110.2
RailImports3,8383,8690.8
Exports2,2442,4137.5
Total6,0836,2823.3
PipelineImports2016-21.7
Exports31941028.7
Total33942625.7
VesselImports2,6953,15917.2
Exports2,5282,331-7.8
Total5,2235,4895.1
AirImports53161014.9
Exports57567417.2
Total1,1061,28416.1

Source: EmEdjimurjE, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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: http://transborder.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataFields.html.

Table 7. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, March 2014

(millions of current dollars)

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All ModesElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts3,1364,7407,876
TruckElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts2,7774,4147,191
RailVehicles Other than Railway5652,9053,469
PipelineMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes41016426
VesselMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes1,4132,5003,913
AirElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts251182434

Source: EmEdjimurjE, TransBorder Freight Data, http://transborder.bts.gov/transborder/

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

Updated: Wednesday, December 6, 2017
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