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BTS releases September 2014 North American freight numbers

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $102.2 billion in September 2014 as all five major transportation modes – air, vessel, pipeline, rail, and trucks – carried more U.S.-NAFTA freight than in September 2013, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). September was the seventh consecutive month with U.S.-NAFTA freight flows exceeding $100 billion.

Freight by Mode
In September, the value of commodities moving by pipeline grew by the largest percentage of any mode, 21.0 percent. Truck freight increased 8.6 percent followed by vessel, 5.4 percent; air, 2.2 percent; and rail, 0.6 percent.

Of the $7.8 billion increase in the value of US-NAFTA freight from September 2013, truck freight contributed the most, $4.9 billion, followed by pipeline, $1.4 billion.

Trucks carry three-fifths 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 $31.2 billion of exports and $30.1 billion of imports.  

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 15.0 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel at 8.4 percent, pipeline at 7.9 percent, and air at 3.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.9 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows. 

U.S.-Canada Freight
Year-over-year, the percent change in the value of U.S.-Canada freight moved by pipeline increased the most of any mode, growing 19.2 percent. Freight moved by truck increased 6.0 percent and rail by 3.3 percent, while air and vessel were essentially unchanged. 

Trucks carried 54.0 percent of the $57.4 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 16.1 percent; pipeline, 13.3 percent; vessel, 5.3 percent and air, 4.3 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.4 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows. 

U.S.-Mexico Freight
Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Mexico pipeline freight rose 60.5 percent, the largest percentage increase of any mode, due to an increase in U.S. exports of mineral fuels.  Freight moved by truck increased 11.5 percent; vessel, 8.5 percent; and air 5.3 percent. The 3.3 percent decline in rail freight was principally due to a decline in vehicles and parts trade. 

Trucks carried 67.6 percent of the $44.9 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 13.5 percent; vessel, 12.4 percent; air, 3.0 percent; and pipeline, 1.0 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.2 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.