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U.S.-NAFTA Trade Increases, Trucks Gain Most of Any Mode

April 24, 2014

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Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: February 2013 - February 2014. Credit: U.S. DOT
Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: February 2013 - February 2014. Credit: U.S. DOT
Two of five transportation modes, truck and pipeline, carried more U.S.-North American Free Trade Agreement freight in February 2014 than compared to the same time a year earlier, according to new U.S. Transportation Department figures.

Trade using truck grew the most of any mode, 2.6%, as the value of overall U.S. trade with its NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico, rose 1.3% from year-to-year, following a 0.2% drop in January. Pipeline rose just 0.1% during February.

Trade using other modes fell 0.6% from year-to-year. Air declined 3.1%, rail fell 2.5% and vessel dropped 0.3%.

While the value of freight carried by rail decreased from year-to-year, it was still the second largest mode, with a 14.7% share, followed by vessel at 9.6%, pipeline at 7.6% and air at 3.5%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried an 82.2% share of the total NAFTA freight flows.

Trade with Canada

In February, compared to the same time in 2013, the value of U.S.-Canada trade by vessel increased the most of any mode, growing 17.6%, due to an increase in exports of mineral fuels, while U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline decreased by 1.1%.  

Truck carried 54.4% of the $48.9 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail at 15.6%, pipeline at 13.2%, vessel at 6.2% and air at 4.2%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.1% of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $6.4 billion, or 56.3% was moved by pipeline.

Trade with Mexico


Year-to-year, the value of trade with Mexico by pipeline increased the most of any mode, growing 25.5%, but pipeline trade remained less than 1% of total U.S.-Mexico trade. Trade using rail rose 7.1% while truck freight increased 5.2%. Freight moved by vessel declined 7.9% and air freight fell 2%.   

Truck carried 66.4% of the $40.7 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by vessel at 13.7%, rail at 13.7%, air at 2.7% and pipelines at 0.9%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81% of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.

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% was moved by truck. 

 

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