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3 of 5 transportation modes carry more NAFTA trade in November; trucks up 2.5%

Truck, which carries 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, rose 2.5 percent in value year-to-year while rail rose 2.2 percent. (The Trucker file photo)

The Trucker News Services

1/29/2014

Three of the five transportation modes — truck, rail and pipeline — carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in November 2013 than in November 2012.

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, according to the November NAFTA freight data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).            

BTS reported that pipelines showed the most year-to-year growth at 7.4 percent. 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.

Truck, which carries 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, rose 2.5 percent in value year-to-year while rail rose 2.2 percent. Vessel declined 8.4 percent and air declined 4.0 percent.

 Trucks carried 59.9 percent of the $96.1 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in November 2013 accounting for $30.2 billion of exports and $27.4 billion of imports. Truck was followed by rail at 15.8 percent, vessels at 9.0 percent, pipeline at 6.6 percent and air at 4.0 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.3 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows.

U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline, consisting almost entirely of petroleum products of which 93.6 percent was imported, increased the most of any mode from November 2012 to November 2013, growing 6.6 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 95.3 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in November. Despite the overall decline in vessel trade, vessel freight exports to Canada increased by 77.2 percent from November 2012, primarily due to an increase in exports of mineral fuels.

 For trade with Canada in November, trucks carried 54.9 percent of the $52.8 billion of freight, followed by rail at 17.0 percent, pipelines at 11.5 percent, vessel at 5.5 percent and air at 4.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.4 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

The value of U.S.-Mexico trade by pipeline was the least of any mode but had the largest percentage increase from November 2012 to November 2013, growing 25.8 percent. 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.

Freight moved by vessel and air between the U.S. and Mexico decreased by 9.7 and 1.3 percent respectively.  

 For trade with Mexico in November, trucks carried 66.1 percent of the $43.3 billion of the freight, followed by rail at 14.3 percent, vessel at 13.3 percent, air at 3.1 percent and pipelines at 0.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.1 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flow. 

 In November 2013, the top commodity group transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, valued at $10.6 billion, of which $6.0 billion moved by pipeline. The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in November 2013 continues to be electrical machinery, of which $7.2 billion moved by truck. Mineral fuels are the largest component in the year-over-year decline of vessel freight and cereal grains are the second largest component.

 Beginning with January 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 North American TransBorder Freight Data 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, other 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 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.

BTS has scheduled the release of December TransBorder numbers for Feb. 27.

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

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