Three of the five transportation modes carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in August 2013 than in August 2012 as the value of overall U.S. trade with its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, rose 2.0 percent from year to year, according to the August NAFTA freight data released today by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (Table 1).
BTS, a part of the Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that pipelines showed the most year-to-year growth at 18.2 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.
Trade by Mode
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 0.7 percent while rail rose 3.0 percent. Vessel declined 2.6 percent and air 2.4 percent (Figure 1).
Trucks carried 59.9 percent of the $96.5 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in August 2013 accounting for $30.3 billion of exports and $27.5 billion of imports (Table 2). Trucks were followed by rail at 15.6 percent, vessels at 8.5 percent, pipeline at 7.4 percent and air at 3.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.9 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows (Figure 2).
Read the Department of Transportation’s entire release on the modes of carrying goods through North America here.