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Trucks transported 59% of NAFTA trade in February; truck freight value fell 2.5%

By value, truck is the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners, accounting for $27.2 billion of exports and $25.0 billion of imports.

The Trucker News Services

5/1/2013

Trucks carried 59.1 percent of the $88.4 billion of freight moved in February 2013 between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement partners, Canada and Mexico, followed by rail at 15.3 percent, vessels at 9.7 percent, pipelines at 7.7 percent and air at 3.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

From February 2012 to February 2013, the value of freight carried by truck fell by 2.5 percent while the value of freight carried by rail increased 0.8 percent.

The value of goods moving between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners by all modes of transportation decreased by 1.0 percent from February 2012 and rose 61.8 percent from February 2009, the lowest February during the last recession.

Goods moving by truck, pipeline, and air each declined, while rail and vessel transportation both increased from the same month last year.

The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.1 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows.

BTS, a part of the Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that in February, for freight flows with Canada, trucks carried 54.4 percent of the $48.9 billion, followed by rail at 17.0 percent, pipelines at 13.3 percent, vessels at 5.3 percent and air at 4.4 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.7 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

For freight flows with Mexico in February, trucks carried 64.8 percent of the $39.6 billion, followed by vessels at 15.2 percent, rail at 13.2 percent, air at 2.8 percent and pipelines at 0.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 78.8 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows. 

Beginning with January 2013, BTS monthly TransBorder press releases contain data for all modes of transportation. Press releases and the BTS website now define surface transportation modes as truck, rail and pipeline.

By value, truck is the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners, accounting for $27.2 billion of exports and $25.0 billion of imports.

Freight flows on all modes of transportation between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners decreased 2.3 percent in February 2013 from January 2013, measured in current dollars. Freight moving across the border by truck decreased by 2.7 percent, while freight moving by rail increased by 4.8 percent from one month prior. Month-to-month changes can be affected by seasonal factors such as the number of days in each month.

In February, Michigan led all states in goods transported to and from Canada, at $6.0 billion. New York had the largest year-to-year percentage increase among the top 10 states, at 6.1 percent. Indiana had the largest year-to-year decrease at 16.4 percent. The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada in February was mineral fuels moved by pipeline, valued at $6.5 billion, of which $5.7 billion was imported.

Texas continued to lead all states in goods transported to and from Mexico by all modes of transportation at $15.4 billion. Louisiana had the largest year-to-year percentage increase among the top 10 states, at 64.9 percent. California had the largest year-to-year decrease at 7.5 percent. The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in February was electrical machinery moved by truck, valued at $6.5 billion, of which $3.9 billion was imported.

Additional 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 example, index values released in February 2012 were subject to revision in February, March and April of that year.

BTS has scheduled the release of March TransBorder numbers for May 29.

 The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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