Newly released U.S. Transportation Department figures show the amount of freight moved between the U.S. and its Canadian and Mexican neighbors edged higher by just 0.1% in November from the same time a year earlier. This follows a record high level set the month before while trucking saw the lion’s share of the growth in November.
It totaled $96.3 billion though the annual growth in the value of trade between the North American Free Trade Agreement partners slowed in November due in part to the reduced value of shipments of mineral fuels and imported vehicles, parts, and electrical machinery, according to the department.
For the first 11 months of 2014 overall NAFTA freight movements are 4.5% higher compared to the first 11 months of 2013.
In November, compared to a year earlier, the value of commodities moving by truck grew by the largest percentage of any mode, 1.4%, followed by pipeline freight, which increased by 1.1%. Rail freight decreased by 3%, while vessel freight fell by 3.3%. Air freight decreased by 7.1%.
Of the $115 million increase in the value of U.S.-NAFTA freight from in November from the same time in 2013, a $787 million increase by truck and a $74 million increase by pipeline offset decreases by the other modes of air, vessel and rail.
Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $29.9 billion of exports and $28.7 billion of imports. Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 15.3% of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 8.7%; pipeline, 6.8%; and air, 3.7%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83% of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows
Year-over-year, U.S.-Canada freight moved by vessel was the only mode to show an increase, growing 0.2%. Freight moved by pipeline decreased 0.3% and truck 1.5%. Rail freight fell 5.2% while air freight decreased 5.6%
Trucks carried 55.2% of the $52.4 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 16.3%; pipeline, 11.8%; vessel, 5.7% and air, 4.5%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.3% of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.
In November 2014, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $6.1 billion, or 57.7%, moved by pipeline.
Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Mexico pipeline freight rose 30.4%, the largest percentage increase of any mode, due to an increase in the volume of U.S. exports of mineral fuels, though it remained 0.9% of total U.S.-Mexico freight value. Freight moved by truck increased 4.3% while rail rose 0.3%. Freight carried by vessel decreased 5.2% mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices and air declined 9.9% due to a decline in trade of electrical machinery and precious stones.
Trucks carried 67.6% of the $43.9 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 14.2%; vessel, 12.2%; air, 2.8%; and pipeline, 0.9%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.6% of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.
The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in November 2014 was electrical machinery, of which $7.5 billion, or 92.7%, moved by trucks.