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BTS releases April 2015 North American freight numbers

U.S.-NAFTA freight totaled $93.3 billion in April 2015 as all modes but air carried less U.S.-NAFTA freight than in April 2014, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released today by the U.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 6.8 percent. Large decreases in the value of NAFTA trade by pipeline and vessel in April were due to the reduced unit price of mineral fuel shipments.

Freight by Mode
In April 2015 compared to April 2014, the value of commodities moving by air grew by 3.0 percent. The value of commodities shipped by all other modes declined. Truck freight and rail freight both decreased by 0.9 percent. Vessel freight decreased by 22.8 percent and pipeline freight decreased by 44.9 percent mainly due to the lower unit price of mineral fuel shipments.

Trucks carried 64.2 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 $29.8 billion of the $49.1 billion of imports (60.8 percent) and $30.1 billion of the $44.3 billion of exports (67.9 percent).

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 15.6 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 6.5 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
U.S.-Canada freight totaled $48.8 billion in April 2015, down 12.5 percent from April 2014, as all modes of transportation carried a lower value of U.S.-Canada freight than a year earlier. Lower mineral fuel prices contributed to a year-over-year decrease in the value of rail freight, down 6.3 percent. Mineral fuels are a larger share of what is carried by vessel and pipeline which declined 3.6 percent, and 46.1 percent respectively. The weight of mineral fuels imported by vessel actually increased 45.3 percent, almost offsetting the large price decline of the commodity.

 

Trucks carried 58.0 percent of the $48.8 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 16.9 percent; pipeline, 9.1 percent; vessel, 5.4 percent; and air, 4.5 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 84.0 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

U.S.-Mexico Freight
U.S.-Mexico freight totaled $44.5 billion in April 2015, up 0.3 percent from April 2014, as three out of five transportation modes – air, rail, and truck – carried more U.S.-Mexico freight than in April 2014. Year-over-year, the value of U.S.-Mexico air freight rose 17.2 percent, the largest percentage increase of any mode. Freight carried by rail increased by 7.2 percent and truck freight increased by 4.9 percent. Pipeline freight decreased by 20.8 percent and vessel freight decreased by 32.9 percent, mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices.

Trucks carried 70.9 percent of the $44.5 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 14.3 percent; vessel, 7.8 percent; air, 3.5 percent; and pipeline, 0.7 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 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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