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May NAFTA trade up 5.4% over 2013

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners.

The Trucker News Services

7/24/2014

WASHINGTON — U.S.-NAFTA trade totaled $103.9 billion in May 2014 as four of five transportation modes — vessel, pipeline, rail and trucks — carried more cross-border trade than in May 2013, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

The value of May 2014 trade was 5.4 percent more than in May 2013. U.S.-NAFTA trade has increased from the same month of the previous year for four consecutive months and in 10 of the last 11 months, interrupted by a 0.2 percent decrease in January. The January decline reflected the severe weather in the northern states and along the U.S.-Canada border.

In May, commodities moving by pipeline grew in value by the most of any mode, 23.1 percent. Vessel freight increased 6.7 percent followed by a rail increase of 6.2 percent, a truck freight increase of 3.8 percent, and an air decrease of 7.9 percent. The increase in the value of freight carried by pipelines reflects both a rise in the volume and prices for oil and other petroleum products, the primary commodity transported by pipelines.

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks carried 59.9 percent of U.S.-NAFTA trade in May 2014, accounting for $31.8 billion of exports and $30.4 billion of imports.

Rail remained the second-largest mode, moving 15.2 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA trade, followed by vessel at 8.7 percent, pipeline at 7.9 percent, and air at 3.4 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.0 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows.

Year-to-year, the value of U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline increased the most of any mode, growing 24.1 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 94.8 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in May. Trade by rail increased 4.5 percent, followed by truck at 2.7 percent. Vessel freight decreased 7.7 percent and air freight decreased 9.8 percent.

The decrease in vessel freight flows can be attributed, in part, to less mineral fuels, aluminum products, and organic chemicals moved by vessel. The decrease in air freight flows can be attributed, in part, to less precious metals and stones, computer related machinery, and pharmaceutical products moved by air.

Trucks carried 53.9 percent of the $57.7 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail at 16.4 percent, pipeline at 13.5 percent, vessel at 5.6 percent and air at 4.0 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.8 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

Year-to-year, the value of U.S.-Mexico trade by vessel increased the most of any mode, growing 16.9 percent, due to an increase in mineral fuels exports. Trade with Mexico by rail rose 8.7 percent followed by pipeline at 8.1 percent and truck at 4.9 percent. Air freight declined 4.2 percent.  

Trucks carried 67.3 percent of the $46.3 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail at 13.8 percent, vessel at 12.6 percent, air at 2.7 percent and pipeline at 0.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.0 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.

In May 2014, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $7.7 billion, or 60.8 percent, moved by pipeline.

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in May 2014 was electrical machinery, of which $7.6 billion, or 91.7 percent, moved by trucks.

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

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