Seven Oaks


Sponsored By:

   The Nation  |  Business  |  Equipment  |  Features


Three surface transport modes, including truck, carry more freight value in ’13 over year prior

Trucks carried 59.7 percent, followed by rail at 15.4 percent, air at 9.1 percent, pipeline at 7.3 percent and vessel at 3.8 percent.

The Trucker News Services

3/20/2014

Three of the five transportation modes — the surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline — carried more U.S. trade with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico by value in 2013 than in 2012 while the value of freight transported by air and vessel decreased, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

Trade by pipeline also grew the most from year-to-year, 7.7 percent, partly due to the value of petroleum products, as the overall value on all modes rose 2.6 percent. Smaller increases took place on rail (4.6 percent) and truck (2.2) while vessel trade fell for the second consecutive year (-2.4) and air trade declined for the third straight year (-1.0).

Most U.S.-NAFTA trade in 2013 (82.4 percent) was carried on the surface modes of truck, rail and pipeline. Trucks carried 59.7 percent, followed by rail at 15.4 percent, air at 9.1 percent, pipeline at 7.3 percent and vessel at 3.8 percent.

From 2012 to 2013, total U.S.-NAFTA trade rose 2.6 percent. Freight on two modes — pipeline (7.7 percent) and rail (4.6) — grew faster than overall trade. Truck (2.2) grew slower while vessel (-2.4) and air (-1.0) declined.

From 2009, when trade fell to a recent low during the recession, total U.S.-NAFTA trade in 2013 rose 54.9 percent. Freight on three modes — rail (83.2 percent), vessel (74.3) and pipeline (69.5) — grew faster than overall trade. Truck (49.4) and air (11.0) grew slower.

From 2004 to 2013, total U.S.-NAFTA trade rose 60.0 percent. Freight on three modes – vessel (124.2 percent), pipeline (116.6) and rail (61.7) grew faster than overall trade. Truck (50.0) and air (36.0) grew slower.

Although truck carries more than half of U.S.-NAFTA trade, 59.7 percent in 2013, its share of total trade has dropped by 4.0 percentage points from 2004, the first year of BTS data for all modes. Vessel’s percentage share rose 2.6 points while pipeline rose 1.9 points.

Most U.S.-Canada trade in 2013 (83.6 percent) was carried on the surface modes of truck, rail and pipeline. Trucks carried 54.4 percent, followed by rail at 16.7 percent, pipeline at 12.6 percent, vessel at 5.7 percent and air at 4.5 percent.

From 2012 to 2013, total U.S.-Canada trade rose 2.6 percent (Table 3). Freight on two modes – vessel (13.0) and pipeline (7.7 percent) grew faster than overall trade. Rail (2.3), air (2.3) and truck (0.7) grew slower.

From 2004 to 2013, total U.S.-Canada trade rose 42.1 percent (Table 3). Freight on two modes — vessel (159.8 percent) and pipeline (106.8) grew faster than overall trade. Rail (41.4), truck (28.0) and air (26.6) grew slower.

Although truck carries more than half of U.S.-Canada trade, 54.4 percent in 2013, its share of total trade has dropped by 6.0 percentage points from 2004, the first year of BTS data for all modes. Truck’s share of imports declined 9.6 percentage points from 51.9 percent to 42.3 percent. Pipeline’s percent share of total trade rose 3.9 points while vessel rose 2.6 points. Pipeline’s share of imports rose 7.3 percentage points from 14.4 percent to 21.7.

Michigan led all states in trade with Canada in 2013 with $74.6 billion. Of the top 10 states for U.S.-Canada trade in 2013, Washington had the highest percent change over 2012, a 6.4 percent increase.

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada in 2013 was mineral fuels at $134.1 billion with $79.2 billion or 59.1 percent moved by pipelines. The next highest commodity category transported by a single mode in U.S.-Canada trade was vehicles and vehicle parts (other than railway vehicles and parts) with $66.1 billion in trade moved by trucks.

Most U.S.-Mexico trade in 2013 (80.8 percent) was carried on the surface modes of truck, rail and pipeline. Trucks carried 66.2 percent, followed by rail at 13.8 percent, vessel at 13.3 percent, air at 3.0 percent and pipeline at 0.8 percent.

From 2012 to 2013, total U.S.-Mexico trade rose 2.6 percent (Table 5). Freight on three modes – pipeline (8.5 percent), rail (8.2) and truck (3.8) – grew faster than overall trade. Vessel (-9.1) and air (-6.9) declined.

From 2004 to 2013, total U.S.-Mexico trade rose 90.0 percent (Table 2). Freight on vessel (108.8 percent) and rail (106.5) grew faster than overall trade. Truck (82.1) and air (58.4) grew slower. Pipeline, which carries a small amount of U.S.-Mexico trade (less than 1 percent of the total) increased $3.8 billion (4,410.0 percent) due predominantly to an increase in U.S. exports of mineral fuels.  

Truck carries two-thirds of U.S.-Mexico trade, 66.2 percent in 2013. Truck’s share of total trade dropped by 2.9 percentage points from 2004, the first year of BTS data for all modes. Truck’s share of exports declined 5.1 percentage points from 71.6 percent to 66.6 percent. Vessel’s percentage share of total trade rose 1.2 points while rail rose 1.1 points. Vessel’s share of exports rose 5.2 percentage points from 6.7 percent to 12.

Texas led all states in trade with Mexico in 2013 with $195.6 billion. Of the top 10 states for U.S.-Mexico trade in 2013, Illinois had the highest percent change over 2012, a 22.5 percent increase.

The top commodity transported between the U.S. and Mexico in 2013 was electrical machinery at $94.2 billion with $85.1 billion or 90.4 percent moved by trucks. The next highest commodity category transported by a single mode in U.S.-Mexico trade was mineral fuels with $50.3 billion in trade moved by vessel.

The TransBorder Freight Dataset is a special extract of the official U.S. foreign trade statistics. The data are obtained by BTS from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division.

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

Find more news and analysis from The Trucker, and share your thoughts, on Facebook.