U.S.-- NAFTA freight totaled $96.1 billion in March 2015 as three out of five transportation modes – air, rail, and truck – carried more U.S.-NAFTA freight than in March 2014, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released today by theU.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows by all modes decreased by 5.3 percent. The value of NAFTA trade by pipeline and vessel declined in March due to the reduced unit price of mineral fuel shipments.
Freight by Mode
In March 2015 compared to March 2014, the value of commodities moving by air grew by the largest percentage of any mode, 6.0 percent. Rail freight increased by 1.5 percent and truck freight increased by 0.9 percent. Vessel freight decreased by 30.3 percent and pipeline freight decreased by 41.6 percent mainly due to the lower unit price of mineral fuel shipments.
Trucks carried 64.0 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $30.6 billion of the $51.2 billion of imports (59.8 percent) and $30.9 billion of the $44.9 billion of exports (68.9 percent).
Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 15.8 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 6.2 percent; pipeline, 5.1 percent; and air, 4.1 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.9 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows.
U.S.-Canada freight totaled $50.8 billion in March 2015 as one out of five transportation modes – air – carried more U.S.-Canada freight than in March 2014. Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Canada trade by air increased by 1.0 percent. Lower mineral fuel prices contributed to a year-over-year decrease in the value of rail freight, down 2.9 percent. Mineral fuels are a larger share of freight moved by vessel, which declined 26.0 percent, and pipeline down 42.1 percent. A drop in bidirectional trade of vehicles and parts contributed to a 3.4 percent decline in U.S.-Canada truck freight over the same time period.
Trucks carried 58.4 percent of the $50.8 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 16.7 percent; pipeline, 9.0 percent; air, 4.9 percent; and vessel, 4.4 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.1 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.
U.S.-Mexico freight totaled $45.2 billion in March 2015 as three out of five transportation modes – air, rail, and truck – carried more U.S.-Mexico freight than in March 2014. Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Mexico air freight rose 15.7 percent, the largest percentage increase of any mode. Freight carried by rail increased by 7.5 percent and truck freight increased by 5.3 percent. Pipeline freight decreased by 32.1 percent and vessel freight decreased by 32.7 percent, mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices.
Trucks carried 70.3 percent of the $45.2 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 14.9 percent; vessel, 8.2 percent; air, 3.3 percent; and pipeline, 0.6 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.9 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.
See BTS Transborder Data Release for summary tables and additional data. See North American Transborder Freight Data on the BTS website for additional data for surface modes since 1995 and all modes since 2004.