North American Transborder Freight Data

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Two of Five Modes Carried More U.S.-NAFTA Trade in February 2014 than in February 2013

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

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics,
NOTE: Pipeline percent change was 0.1 percent.

Two of five transportation modes – truck and pipeline – carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in February 2014 than in February 2013, according to the TransBorder freight data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Table 1).

Trade using truck grew the most of any mode, 2.6 percent, as the value of overall U.S. trade with its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico rose 1.3 percent from year to year (Table 2). 

Trade by Mode
While trade by truck rose 2.6 percent, trade using other modes declined 0.6 percent from year to year. Air declined 3.1 percent, rail declined 2.5 percent and vessel declined 0.3 percent. Pipeline rose 0.1 percent. (Figure 1, Table 2).

Truck 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. Truck carried 59.8 percent of the $89.6 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in February 2014, accounting for $27.8 billion of exports and $25.8 billion of imports.  

The value of freight carried by rail decreased from year to year but rail was still the second largest mode, at 14.7 percent, followed by vessel at 9.6 percent, pipeline at 7.6 percent and air at 3.5 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.2 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows (Table 2).

Trade with Canada
Year to year, the value of U.S.-Canada trade by vessel increased the most of any mode, growing 17.6 percent.  Vessel freight exports to Canada increased 66.5 percent due to an increase in exports of mineral fuels.  Meanwhile, U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline decreased by 1.1 percent.   U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 94.5 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in February (Figure 2, Tables 2, 4).

Truck carried 54.4 percent of the $48.9 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail at 15.6 percent, pipeline at 13.2 percent, vessel at 6.2 percent and air at 4.2 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.1 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:
February 2013 - February 2014

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics,
NOTE: percent change were 0.029 and 0.053 percent, respectively.

Trade with Mexico
Year-to-year, the value of trade by pipeline increased the most of any mode, growing 25.5 percent, but pipeline trade remained less than 1 percent of total U.S.-Mexico trade (Table 6).  Trade using rail rose 7.1 percent while truck freight increased 5.2 percent.  Freight moved by vessel declined 7.9 percent while air freight decreased 2.0 percent (Figure 3).   

Truck carried 66.4 percent of the $40.7 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by vessel at 13.7 percent, rail at 13.7 percent, air at 2.7 percent and pipelines at 0.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.0 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:
February 2013 - February 2014

Table Version | Excel

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

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics,

Commodities
In February 2014, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $6.4 billion, or 56.3 percent, moved by pipeline (Table 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in February 2014 was electrical machinery, of which $6.3 billion, or 91.4 percent, moved by truck (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  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 March TransBorder numbers for May 29.

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
March99,51095,566 -4.0 
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: 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 February 2013February 2014Percent Change February 2013-2014
All ModesImports47,64847,7210.2
Exports40,80141,8352.5
Total88,44989,5571.3
All Surface ModesImports39,57340,0941.3
Exports33,00933,5031.5
Total72,58273,5961.4
TruckImports25,00825,7973.2
Exports27,23927,7932.0
Total52,24753,5902.6
RailImports8,7708,540-2.6
Exports4,7514,646-2.2
Total13,52113,186-2.5
PipelineImports5,7955,756-0.7
Exports1,0181,0644.5
Total6,8136,8200.1
VesselImports5,4014,851-10.2
Exports3,1993,72016.3
Total8,6008,571-0.3
AirImports1,3781,284-6.8
Exports1,8491,842-0.3
Total3,2273,127-3.1

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

February 2014 Compared to February in...Percent Change
TruckRailPipelineAirVesselAll Modes
20132.6-2.50.1-3.1-0.31.3
20120.0-1.7-5.0-10.210.30.2
201116.919.98.9-6.620.216.3
201031.527.428.2-0.363.331.9
200956.890.080.23.3131.363.8
200815.211.9-3.8-1.738.113.7
200726.334.760.415.5107.534.7
200630.829.922.619.373.032.9
200541.639.197.229.6135.550.2
200456.154.4133.632.5188.467.4

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 February 2013February 2014Percent Change February 2013-2014
All ModesImports25,73325,401-1.3
Exports23,14123,4871.5
Total48,87448,8880.0
All Surface ModesImports22,21521,846-1.7
Exports19,19518,802-2.0
Total41,41040,648-1.8
TruckImports10,77910,9541.6
Exports15,80715,646-1.0
Total26,58626,6000.1
RailImports5,6635,152-9.0
Exports2,6482,453-7.3
Total8,3117,605-8.5
PipelineImports5,7735,740-0.6
Exports739702-5.0
Total6,5126,442-1.1
VesselImports1,7581,671-5.0
Exports8091,34766.5
Total2,5673,01817.6
AirImports850810-4.7
Exports1,2771,238-3.0
Total2,1272,048-3.7

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, February 2014

(millions of current dollars)

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All ModesMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes2,5498,85511,405
TruckVehicles Other than Railway2,9802,2445,224
RailVehicles Other than Railway7711,9112,682
PipelineMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes6975,7266,423
VesselMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes1,2721,5232,795
AirElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts306129434

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 February 2013February 2014Percent Change February 2013-2014
All ModesImports21,91522,3211.9
Exports17,66018,3483.9
Total39,57440,6692.8
All Surface ModesImports17,35818,2475.1
Exports13,81414,7016.4
Total31,17232,9485.7
TruckImports14,22914,8434.3
Exports11,43212,1476.3
Total25,66026,9895.2
RailImports3,1073,3889.1
Exports2,1032,1934.2
Total5,2105,5817.1
PipelineImports2216-27.6
Exports27936229.8
Total30137825.5
VesselImports3,6423,180-12.7
Exports2,3902,373-0.7
Total6,0325,553-7.9
AirImports529474-10.3
Exports5726045.6
Total1,1011,078-2.0

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, February 2014

(millions of current dollars)

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All ModesElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts2,8394,0306,869
TruckElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts2,5303,7466,275
RailVehicles Other than Railway5032,5403,043
PipelineMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes36216378
VesselMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes1,4432,6614,104
AirElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts216138354

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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