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2013 NAFTA freight on surface modes rises from 2012; declines on air and vessel

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Three of the five transportation modes – the surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline – carried more US trade with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico by value in...



WASHINGTON, D.C.–Three of the five transportation modes – the surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline – carried more US trade with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico by value in 2013 than in 2012 while the value of freight transported by air and vessel decreased, according to the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

Trade by pipeline also grew the most from year-to-year, 7.7 percent, partly due to the value of petroleum products, as the overall value on all modes rose 2.6 percent. Smaller increases took place on rail (4.6 percent) and truck (2.2) while vessel trade fell for the second consecutive year (-2.4) and air trade declined for the third straight year (-1.0).

Trade with Canada

Most U.S.-Canada trade in 2013 (83.6 percent) was carried on the surface modes of truck, rail and pipeline. Trucks carried 54.4 percent, followed by rail at 16.7 percent, pipeline at 12.6 percent, vessel at 5.7 percent and air at 4.5 percent, said the BTS report.

Trade by Mode

Most US-NAFTA trade in 2013 (82.4 percent) was carried on the surface modes of truck, rail and pipeline. Trucks carried 59.7 percent, followed by rail at 15.4 percent, air at 9.1 percent, pipeline at 7.3 percent and vessel at 3.8 percent.

Although truck carries more than half of U.S.-NAFTA trade, 59.7 percent in 2013, its share of total trade has dropped by 4.0 percentage points from 2004, the first year of BTS data for all modes. Vessel’s percentage share rose 2.6 points while pipeline rose 1.9 points.

Trade with Mexico

Most U.S.-Mexico trade in 2013 (80.8 percent) was carried on the surface modes of truck, rail and pipeline. Trucks carried 66.2 percent, followed by rail at 13.8 percent, vessel at 13.3 percent, air at 3.0 percent and pipeline at 0.8 percent.


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