North American Transborder Freight Data

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Three of Five Modes Carried More U.S.-NAFTA Trade in December 2013 than in December 2012

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Figure 1.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: 
December 2013 Compared to December 2012

Table Version | Excel

Figure 1.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode:   December 2013 Compared to December 2012

SOURCE: EmEdjimurjE,

Three of the five transportation modes – truck, vessel and pipeline – carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in December 2013 than in December 2012, according to the December TransBorder Freight Data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s EmEdjimurjE (BTS) (Table 1).

BTS reported that pipelines showed the most year-to-year growth at 21.7 percent as the value of overall U.S. trade with its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico rose 6.4 percent from year to year (Table 2).

Trade by Mode
Truck, which carries nearly three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade and is the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners, rose 7.2 percent year-to-year while rail declined 2.3 percent. Vessel rose 10.7 percent and air declined 3.2 percent (Figure 1).

Trucks carried 57.2 percent of the $90.1 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in December 2013 accounting for $26.3 billion of exports and $25.2 billion of imports (Table 2). While the value of freight carried by rail decreased from year-to-year, rail was still the second largest mode, at 14.9 percent, followed by vessels at 11.2 percent, pipeline at 7.7 percent and air at 4.0 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 79.7 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows.

Trade with Canada
U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline, of which 89.2 percent was imported, increased the most of any mode from December 2012 to December 2013, growing 21.9 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 95.2 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in December (Tables 2, 4). Vessel freight exports to Canada increased by 64.8 percent from December 2012 due to an increase in exports of mineral fuels (Tables 4).

For trade with Canada in December, trucks carried 52.2 percent of the $50.0 billion of freight, followed by rail at 15.7 percent, pipelines at 13.2 percent, vessel at 7.1 percent and air at 4.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.2 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:
December 2012-December 2013

Table Version | Excel

Figure 2.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode: December 2012-December 2013

SOURCE: EmEdjimurjE,

Trade with Mexico
The value of U.S.-Mexico trade by pipeline had the largest percentage increase of any mode from December 2012 to December 2013, growing 17.5 percent (Table 6).  Freight moved by vessel and air between the U.S. and Mexico increased by 14.8 percent and decreased by 0.2 percent respectively (Figure 3).

For trade with Mexico in December, trucks carried 63.3 percent of the $40.1 billion of the freight, followed by vessel at 16.4 percent, rail at 13.8 percent, air at 3.1 percent and pipelines at 0.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 77.9 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:
December 2012-December 2013

Table Version | Excel

Figure 3.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode: December 2012-December 2013

SOURCE: EmEdjimurjE,

Commodities
In December 2013, the top commodity group transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $6.6 billion moved by pipeline (Table 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in December 2013 was electrical machinery, of which $7.2 billion moved by truck (Table 7). 

Reporting Notes
Beginning with January 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  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 a 2013 annual summary for March 20 and the release of January TransBorder numbers for March 27.

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

(millions of current dollars)

Month201120122013Percent Change 2011-2012Percent Change 2012-2013
January79,60887,49090,5129.93.5
February77,01589,38588,44916.1-1.0
March94,22899,51095,5665.6-4.0
April87,09792,19998,9845.97.4
May91,12696,84098,5776.31.8
June90,66394,20093,4833.9-0.8
July84,95287,69193,1923.26.3
August93,45094,59396,5261.22.0
September90,77189,87594,350-1.05.0
October91,83798,632103,0897.44.5
November90,40194,87796,1205.01.3
December86,77584,69590,083-2.46.4
Annual1,057,9241,109,9881,138,9314.92.6

Source: EmEdjimurjE, 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 December 2012December 2013Percent Change December 2012-2013
All ModesImports46,10348,8205.9
Exports38,59141,2636.9
Total84,69590,0836.4
All Surface ModesImports37,34639,8016.6
Exports30,10032,0216.4
Total67,44671,8226.5
TruckImports23,23925,2348.6
Exports24,79626,2605.9
Total48,03551,4947.2
RailImports9,0068,651-3.9
Exports4,6974,7310.7
Total13,70313,382-2.3
PipelineImports5,1015,91616.0
Exports6071,03069.8
Total5,7086,94621.7
VesselImports5,6285,7782.7
Exports3,4924,31623.6
Total9,12110,09410.7
AirImports1,5911,398-12.1
Exports2,0972,1703.5
Total3,6883,568-3.2

Source: EmEdjimurjE, 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

December 2013 Compared to November in...Percent Change
TruckRailPipelineAirVesselAll Modes
20127.2-2.321.7-3.210.76.4
20112.71.7-0.5-7.816.43.8
201012.322.921.7-11.027.114.8
200929.337.026.3-2.559.331.6
200840.661.749.510.7106.547.6
200726.621.924.47.844.326.5
200627.620.961.021.0100.734.4
200530.926.922.314.583.033.0
200439.653.395.827.6166.653.6

Source: EmEdjimurjE, 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 December 2012December 2013Percent Change December 2012-2013
All ModesImports25,79826,6933.5
Exports22,19123,3045.0
Total47,98949,9974.2
All Surface ModesImports21,11522,4546.3
Exports17,81018,1441.9
Total38,92540,5984.3
TruckImports10,13011,22710.8
Exports14,80314,8910.6
Total24,93326,1184.8
RailImports5,9035,327-9.8
Exports2,6642,539-4.7
Total8,5677,866-8.2
PipelineImports5,0825,90016.1
Exports343714108.3
Total5,4256,61421.9
VesselImports2,4721,990-19.5
Exports9371,54564.8
Total3,4093,5343.7
AirImports950827-13.0
Exports1,5041,5100.4
Total2,4542,337-4.8

Source: EmEdjimurjE, 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, December 2013

(millions of current dollars)

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
TruckVehicles Other than Railway2,4962,2344,731
RailVehicles Other than Railway8542,0472,901
PipelineMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes7135,8916,604
VesselMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes1,3931,7423,135
AirElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts361149510

Source: Source: EmEdjimurjE, 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 December 2012December 2013Percent Change December 2012-2013
All ModesImports20,30522,1279.0
Exports16,40117,9599.5
Total36,70540,0869.2
All Surface ModesImports16,23117,3476.9
Exports12,29013,87712.9
Total28,52131,2239.5
TruckImports13,11014,0076.8
Exports9,99311,36813.8
Total23,10325,3769.8
RailImports3,1023,3237.1
Exports2,0332,1927.8
Total5,1355,5167.4
PipelineImports1916-14.7
Exports26431619.8
Total28333217.5
VesselImports3,1573,78820.0
Exports2,5552,7728.5
Total5,7126,56014.8
AirImports641571-10.9
Exports59366011.3
Total1,2341,231-0.2

Source: EmEdjimurjE, 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, December 2013

(millions of current dollars)

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
TruckElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts2,6474,5917,238
RailVehicles Other than Railway6832,8133,496
PipelineMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes28121302
VesselMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes1,7792,6724,450
AirElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts230225456

Source: EmEdjimurjE, TransBorder Freight Data,

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

Updated: Wednesday, December 6, 2017
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