Trans-border freight hit hard by weather
Trade using truck, the largest mode, declined 4.9 percent while rail dropped 9.9 percent.
The Trucker News Services
Severe weather in January impacted freight transportation, contributing to a decline in U.S.-Canada trade for the month.
Freight moving across the northern border in January 2014 was down 3.4 percent from January 2013, the first decline from the same month of the previous year since June 2013 and the largest year-to-year decline since November 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Trade using truck, the largest mode, declined 4.9 percent while rail dropped 9.9 percent. Air trade also declined while pipeline and vessel increased.
BTS has scheduled the release of February TransBorder numbers for April 24.
With less weather impact along the southern border, U.S.-Mexico trade rose 3.9 percent from January 2013, the seventh consecutive increase from the same month of the previous year. Trade using the three surface transportation modes – truck, rail and pipeline – rose a combined 5.4 percent from the previous year while trade using air and vessels declined.
Total U.S.-NAFTA trade declined 0.2 percent from January 2013 in the face of the weather impact on the northern border. It was the first year-to-year decline since June 2013. Trade using rail and air declined. With the rise in trade by truck with Mexico offsetting the trucking decline with Canada, total U.S.-NAFTA truck trade was virtually unchanged. Pipeline and vessel trade rose.
Truck, which carries nearly 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, was essentially unchanged year-to-year while rail declined 4.2 percent. Vessel rose 0.6 percent and air declined 1.2 percent.
Trucks carried 59.5 percent of the $90.3 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in January 2014 accounting for $28.0 billion of exports and $25.7 billion of imports. While the value of freight carried by rail decreased from year-to-year, rail was still the second largest mode, at 13.7 percent, followed by vessels at 9.8 percent, pipeline at 8.4 percent and air at 3.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.5 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows.
Year-to-year, the value of U.S.-Canada trade by vessel increased the most of any mode, growing 3.7 percent. Vessel freight exports to Canada increased 64.8 percent due to an increase in exports of mineral fuels. U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline increased by 1.9 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 95.1 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in January.
For trade with Canada in January, trucks carried 52.2 percent of the $49.3 billion of freight, followed by rail at 15.1 percent, pipeline at 14.6 percent, vessel at 7.2 percent and air at 4.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.0 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.
Year-to-year, the value of trade by pipeline increased the most of any mode, growing 30.6 percent, but pipeline trade remained less than 1 percent of total U.S.-Mexico trade (Table 6). Trade using rail rose 5.9 percent while truck freight increased 5.0 percent. Freight moved by vessel and air decreased by 5.4 percent and 0.4 percent respectively (Figure 3).
For trade with Mexico in January, trucks carried 68.1 percent of the $41.1 billion of freight, followed by vessel at 13.2 percent, rail at 12.0 percent, air at 2.9 percent and pipelines at 0.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.0 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.
In January 2014, the top commodity group transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $7.2 billion, or 56.5 percent, moved by pipeline (Table 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in January 2014 was electrical machinery, of which $6.7 billion, or 91.5 percent, moved by truck (Table 7).
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.
For more information, see TransBorder Press Releases for previous press releases and summary tables. See TransBorder Freight Data for data from previous months, and more state, port, or commodity data.
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