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Economic Watch: U.S. NAFTA Trade Up 5%, Trucking Sees Healthy Increase

December 9, 2013

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Three of the five transportation modes carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in September than in September 2012, as the value of overall U.S. trade with its North American Free Trade Agreement partners, Canada and Mexico, rose 5% from year to year, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Trucks, which carries three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade and is the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both the U.S. and its NAFTA partners, rose 5.4% while rail rose 8.1% Vessel declined 4.3% and air 0.1%. Pipelines showed the most year-to-year growth at 14.2%. 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.

Trucks carried 59.4% of the $94.4 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in September 2013 accounting for $29.1 billion of exports and $27 billion of imports. Trucks were followed by rail at 16.1%, vessels at 8.6%, pipeline at 7.2% and air at 3.9%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.7% of the total NAFTA freight.

For trade with Canada in September, trucks carried 54.2% of the $53.1 billion of freight, followed by rail at 16.8%, pipelines at 12.3%, vessel at 5.85 and air at 4.5%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.3% of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.         

For trade with Mexico in September, trucks carried 66% of the $41.3 billion of the freight, followed by rail at 15.1% vessel at 12.3%, air at 3.1% and pipelines at 0.7%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.8% of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.

In September the top commodity group transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $6.5 billion moved by pipeline. The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in September was electrical machinery, of which $7 billion moved by truck.

 

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