Three of the five transportation modes carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in September 2013 than in September 2012 as the value of overall U.S. trade with its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, rose 5.0 percent from year to year, according to the September NAFTA freight data released today by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
BTS, a part of the Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that pipelines showed the most year-to-year growth at 14.2 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 5.4 percent while rail rose 8.1 percent. Vessel declined 4.3 percent and air 0.1 percent.
Trucks carried 59.4 percent of the $94.4 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in September 2013 accounting for $29.1 billion of exports and $27.0 billion of imports. Trucks were followed by rail at 16.1 percent, vessels at 8.6 percent, pipeline at 7.2 percent and air at 3.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.7 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows.
U.S.-Canada trade by vessel, of which 65.4 percent was imported, had the largest percentage increase of any mode from September 2012 to September 2013, growing 33.0 percent. Next highest was pipeline trade, which grew 15.2 percent during the same period. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprises 96 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade. Freight moved by rail between the U.S. and Canada grew the least of any mode, 3.0 percent.
U.S.-Mexico trade by rail had the largest percentage increase of any mode from September 2012 to September 2013, growing 16.4 percent, mainly due to a 20 percent increase in vehicles and vehicle parts moving by rail. Freight moved by vessel between the U.S. and Mexico decreased by 18.2 percent due to a 25 percent drop in the value of mineral fuels (primarily oil and natural gas) moving between the U.S. and Mexico by vessel.
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