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BTS releases 2014 North American freight numbers

Four of five transportation modes – truck, rail, pipeline, and vessel – carried more U.S. freight with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico by value in 2014 than in 2013 as the overall value of freight on all modes rose 4.5 percent in current dollars to $1.2 trillion, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). 

In 2014 compared to 2013, the value of commodities moving by pipeline grew the most, 12.5 percent, despite a decline in cost per unit of petroleum products, due to the increased volume of freight. Truck increased 4.5 percent, rail increased 1.5 percent, vessel increased 0.2 percent, and air decreased 0.2 percent. 

Freight by Mode
Trucks carried 59.9 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight and were the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $348.7 billion of the $640.2 billion of imports (54.5 percent) and $365.9 billion of the $552.5 billion of exports (66.2 percent). 

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 14.9 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 8.7 percent; pipeline, 7.9 percent and air, 3.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.7 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows. 

Although trucks carry almost three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA freight, 59.9 percent in 2014, its share has decreased by 3.7 percentage points from 2004, the first year of BTS data for all modes. During the last decade, pipeline’s percentage share rose 2.5 points while vessel rose 2.2 points. The category of all modes of transportation cited in the following tables includes freight movements by truck, rail, vessel, pipeline, air, other and unknown modes of transport. 

Freight with Canada
From 2013 to 2014, total U.S.-Canada freight rose 3.8 percent. Trucks carried 53.8 percent of the $658.2 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 15.8 percent; pipeline, 13.5 percent; vessel, 5.9 percent; and air, 4.3 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.1 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.           

Although trucks carry more than half of U.S.-Canada freight, 53.8 percent in 2014, its share of total freight has decreased by 6.6 percentage points from 2004, the first year of BTS data for all modes. Truck’s share of imports decreased 8.8 percentage points from 2004, while pipeline’s percent share of imports rose 8.4 points and vessel exports rose 4.0 points. 

Freight with Mexico
From 2013 to 2014, total U.S.-Mexico freight rose 5.5 percent. Trucks carried 67.5 percent of the $534.5 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 13.8 percent; vessel, 12.2 percent; air, 2.9 percent; and pipeline, 0.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.2 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows.  

Although trucks carry roughly two-thirds of U.S.-Mexico freight, 67.5 percent in 2014, its share of total freight decreased by 1.6 percentage points from 2004, the first year of BTS data for all modes. Truck’s share of exports decreased 4.6 percentage points from 2004 while vessel’s percentage share of exports rose 4.5 points). 

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.   

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