NAFTA trade improves for two modes

Two of five transportation modes – truck and pipeline – carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in February 2014 than in February 2013, according to the TransBorder freight data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

Trade using truck grew the most of any mode, 2.6 percent, as 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.

Trade by mode
While trade by truck rose 2.6 percent, trade using other modes declined 0.6 percent from year to year. Air declined 3.1 percent, rail declined 2.5 percent and vessel declined 0.3 percent. Pipeline rose 0.1 percent.

Truck 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. Truck carried 59.8 percent of the $89.6 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in February 2014, accounting for $27.8 billion of exports and $25.8 billion of imports.

The value of freight carried by rail decreased from year to year but rail was still the second largest mode, at 14.7 percent, followed by vessel at 9.6 percent, pipeline at 7.6 percent and air at 3.5 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.2 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows.

Trade with Canada
Year to year, the value of U.S.-Canada trade by vessel increased the most of any mode, growing 17.6 percent. Vessel freight exports to Canada increased 66.5 percent due to an increase in exports of mineral fuels. Meanwhile, U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline decreased by 1.1 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 94.5 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in February.

Trade with Mexico
Year-to-year, the value of trade by pipeline increased the most of any mode, growing 25.5 percent, but pipeline trade remained less than 1 percent of total U.S.-Mexico trade. Trade using rail rose 7.1 percent while truck freight increased 5.2 percent. Freight moved by vessel declined 7.9 percent while air freight decreased 2.0 percent.