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

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

Excel | Table Version

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

SOURCE: EmEdjimurjE, TransBorder Freight Data

Three of the five transportation modes carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in September 2013 than in September 2012 as the value of overall U.S. trade with its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, rose 5.0 percent from year to year, according to the September NAFTA freight data released today by the EmEdjimurjE (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (Table 1).              

BTS, a part of the Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that pipelines showed the most year-to-year growth at 14.2 percent.  The increase in the value of freight carried by pipelines reflects the rise in prices for oil and other petroleum products, the primary commodity transported by pipelines.

Trade by Mode
Truck, which carries 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 5.4 percent while rail rose 8.1 percent.  Vessel declined 4.3 percent and air 0.1 percent (Figure 1).

Trucks carried 59.4 percent of the $94.4 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in September 2013 accounting for $29.1 billion of exports and $27.0 billion of imports (Table 2). Trucks were followed by rail at 16.1 percent, vessels at 8.6 percent, pipeline at 7.2 percent and air at 3.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.7 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows (Figure 2).

Figure 2. U.S.-NAFTA Freight by Mode, September 2013
Current dollars, Share of total

Excel |

SOURCE: EmEdjimurjE, TransBorder Freight Data

Trade with Canada
U.S.-Canada trade by vessel, of which 65.4 percent was imported, had the largest percentage increase of any mode from September 2012 to September 2013, growing 33.0 percent.  Next highest was pipeline trade, which grew 15.2 percent during the same period.  U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprises 96 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade (Tables 2, 4). Freight moved by rail between the U.S. and Canada grew the least of any mode, 3.0 percent (Figure 3).
For trade with Canada in September, trucks carried 54.2 percent of the $53.1 billion of freight, followed by rail at 16.8 percent, pipelines at 12.3 percent, vessel at 5.8 percent and air at 4.5 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.3 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 4). 

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

Excel | Table Version

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

SOURCE: EmEdjimurjE, TransBorder Freight Data

Trade with Mexico
U.S.-Mexico trade by rail had the largest percentage increase of any mode from September 2012 to September 2013, growing 16.4 percent, mainly due to a 20 percent increase in vehicles and vehicle parts moving by rail. Freight moved by vessel between the U.S. and Mexico decreased by 18.2 percent due to a 25 percent drop in the value of mineral fuels (primarily oil and natural gas) moving between the U.S. and Mexico by vessel (Figure 4).   

For trade with Mexico in September, trucks carried 66.0 percent of the $41.3 billion of the freight, followed by rail at 15.1 percent, vessel at 12.3 percent, air at 3.1 percent and pipelines at 0.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.8 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 6).

Figure 4.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode:
September 2012-September 2013

Excel | Table Version

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

SOURCE: EmEdjimurjE, TransBorder Freight Data

Commodities
In September 2013, the top commodity group transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $6.5 billion moved by pipeline (Table 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in September 2013 was electrical machinery, of which $7.0 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 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.  Figure 2 above provides a breakdown by value and percentage of each mode of freight transportation used in moving goods between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners in September. The dotted slices represent surface modes, which accounted for 82.7 percent of the total.

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 October TransBorder numbers for January 7, 2014.

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
September90,77189,87594,350-1.05.0
October91,83798,632 7.4 
November90,40194,877 5.0 
December86,77584,695 -2.4 
Year-to-date788,911831,784849,6395.42.1
Annual1,057,9241,109,988 4.9 

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 September 2012September 2013Percent Change September 2012-2013
All ModesImports48,24651,4276.6
Exports41,62942,9233.1
Total89,87594,3505.0
All Surface ModesImports39,47942,9288.7
Exports33,68735,0814.1
Total73,16578,0096.6
TruckImports25,52326,9735.7
Exports27,64729,0545.1
Total53,17056,0275.4
RailImports8,9799,7688.8
Exports5,0525,4057.0
Total14,03115,1738.1
PipelineImports4,9776,18724.3
Exports988622-37.0
Total5,9656,80914.2
VesselImports5,3755,040-6.2
Exports3,1333,102-1.0
Total8,5088,143-4.3
AirImports1,6321,585-2.9
Exports2,0542,0982.1
Total3,6863,682-0.1

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_DataF....

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

September 2013 Compared to September in...Percent Change
TruckRailPipelineAirVesselAll Modes
20125.48.114.2-0.1-4.35.0
20113.614.21.9-10.4-8.93.9
201015.634.042.7-7.528.320.0
200936.472.156.77.151.442.7
200816.529.1-14.24.94.413.5
200720.523.550.813.430.423.7
200624.945.555.221.341.630.9
200531.350.140.924.666.436.7
200442.659.3111.931.1107.553.0

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 September 2012September 2013Percent Change September 2012-2013
All ModesImports26,03328,1528.1
Exports24,17924,9253.1
Total50,21153,0785.7
All Surface ModesImports22,11423,8357.8
Exports20,09720,4001.5
Total42,21144,2354.8
TruckImports11,29411,7924.4
Exports16,59817,0022.4
Total27,89228,7943.2
RailImports5,8565,8770.4
Exports2,8043,0468.6
Total8,6608,9233.0
PipelineImports4,9646,16624.2
Exports695353-49.3
Total5,6596,51815.2
VesselImports1,6242,00923.7
Exports6861,06354.9
Total2,3103,07233.0
AirImports83794613.0
Exports1,3731,4495.6
Total2,2102,3958.4

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, September 2013

(millions of current dollars)

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
TruckVehicles Other than Railway3,3032,4675,770
RailVehicles Other than Railway9772,4413,418
PipelineMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes3536,1546,507
VesselMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes8121,6872,499
AirElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts343152496

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 September 2012September 2013Percent Change September 2012-2013
All ModesImports22,21323,2744.8
Exports17,45117,9973.1
Total39,66441,2724.1
All Surface ModesImports17,36519,0939.9
Exports13,59014,6818.0
Total30,95533,7739.1
TruckImports14,22915,1816.7
Exports11,04912,0529.1
Total25,27827,2337.7
RailImports3,1233,89124.6
Exports2,2482,3594.9
Total5,3716,25016.4
PipelineImports132159.2
Exports293270-7.9
Total306291-5.0
VesselImports3,7513,031-19.2
Exports2,4472,039-16.6
Total6,1985,071-18.2
AirImports795639-19.6
Exports682648-4.9
Total1,4761,288-12.8

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_DataF....

Table 7. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, September 2013

(millions of current dollars)

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
TruckElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts2,5644,4477,010
RailVehicles Other than Railway6223,0093,630
PipelineMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes27021291
VesselMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes1,1322,5333,665
AirElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts230219448

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

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

Updated: Monday, December 11, 2017
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