- THE MAGAZINE
Three of the five transportation modes–-truck, rail and pipeline--carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in November 2013 than in November 2012 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, according to the November NAFTA freight data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).
BTS reported that pipelines showed the most year-to-year growth at 7.4 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 2.5 percent in value year-to-year while rail rose 2.2 percent. Vessel declined 8.4 percent and air declined 4.0 percent.
Trucks carried 59.9 percent of the $96.1 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in November 2013, accounting for $30.2 billion of exports and $27.4 billion of imports. Truck was followed by rail at 15.8 percent, vessels at 9.0 percent, pipeline at 6.6 percent and air at 4.0 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.3 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows.
Trade with Canada
U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline, consisting almost entirely of petroleum products of which 93.6 percent was imported, increased the most of any mode from November 2012 to November 2013, growing 6.6 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 95.3 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in November. Despite the overall decline in vessel trade, vessel freight exports to Canada increased by 77.2 percent from November 2012, primarily due to an increase in exports of mineral fuels.
Trade with Mexico
The value of U.S.-Mexico trade by pipeline was the least of any mode but had the largest percentage increase from November 2012 to November 2013, growing 25.8 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.