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BTS releases April 2014 North American freight numbers

Two of five transportation modes – pipeline and trucks – carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in April 2014 than in April 2013 as U.S.-NAFTA trade rose to $100.1 billion, according to the TransBorder freight data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). 

The increases came in two modes that combined carry more than two-thirds of total U.S.-NAFTA trade. Trucks, at 60.3 percent of the April trade, and pipeline, at 8.6 percent, carried a total of 69.0 percent of the trade.  

A 4.2 percent increase in imports by truck offset a 2.5 percent decline in exports from year-to-year. Imports from Canada and Mexico both increased while exports by truck on each of the borders decreased. An increase in both imports and exports by pipeline across the Canadian border pushed pipeline’s share of total trade to 8.6 percent from 6.8 percent in April 2013. 

The April 2014 trade total was a 1.2 percent increase from April 2013. U.S.-NAFTA trade has increased from the same month of the previous year in nine of the last 10 months, interrupted by a 0.2 percent decrease in January. The January decline reflected the severe weather in the northern states and along the U.S.-Canada border.  

Trade by Mode
In April, commodities moving by pipeline grew the most of any mode, 27.8 percent.

Truck freight increased 0.7 percent, rail declined 1.8 percent followed by declines in air at 3.1 and vessel at 13.2. The increase in the value of freight carried by pipelines reflects both a rise in the volume and prices for oil and other petroleum products, the primary commodity transported by pipelines. 

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks carried 60.3 percent of U.S.-NAFTA trade in April 2014, accounting for $30.6 billion of exports and $29.8 billion of imports.  

Although the value of freight carried by rail decreased from year to year, rail remained the second largest mode moving 14.7 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA trade, followed by pipeline at 8.6 percent, vessel at 7.9 percent and air at 3.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.7 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA 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.