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.
With less weather impact along the southern border, U.S.-México 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.
Trade by Mode
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.
Trade with Canada
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.
Trade with Mexico
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. 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.
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