Canadian Shipper


Severe weather impacted January 2014 US-Canada freight flows: BTS report

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Severe weather in January impacted freight transportation, contributing to a decline in US-Canada trade for the month. Freight moving across the northern border in January 2014 was down 3.4 percent from January 2013, the first decline from the same month of the previous year since June 2013 and the largest year-to-year decline since November 2009, according to the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Trade using truck, the largest mode, declined 4.9 percent while rail dropped 9.9 percent. Air trade also declined while pipeline and vessel increased, said the report. 

With less weather impact along the southern border, US-México trade rose 3.9 percent from January 2013, the seventh consecutive increase from the same month of the previous year. Trade using the three surface transportation modes – truck, rail and pipeline – rose a combined 5.4 percent from the previous year while trade using air and vessels declined.

Total US-NAFTA trade declined 0.2 percent from January 2013 in the face of the weather impact on the northern border. It was the first year-to-year decline since June 2013. Trade using rail and air declined. With the rise in trade by truck with Mexico offsetting the trucking decline with Canada, total US-NAFTA truck trade was virtually unchanged. Pipeline and vessel trade rose.

Truck, which carries nearly three-fifths of US-NAFTA trade and is the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners, was essentially unchanged year-to-year while rail declined 4.2 percent. Vessel rose 0.6 percent and air declined 1.2 percent.

Trade with Canada

Year-to-year, the value of US-Canada trade by vessel increased the most of any mode, growing 3.7 percent. Vessel freight exports to Canada increased 64.8 percent due to an increase in exports of mineral fuels. U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline increased by 1.9 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 95.1 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in January.