US-NAFTA trade saw record October values despite falling oil prices


The US Department of Transportation has announced its US-NAFTA freight figures for October 2014. It reported that US-NAFTA freight totalled $108.2bn in October 2014 as three transportation modes – air, rail, and trucks – carried more US-NAFTA freight than in October 2013. October 2014 was the highest month on record for the value of US-NAFTA trade flows, not adjusted for inflation.

In October 2014 compared to October 2013, the value of commodities moving by truck grew by the largest percentage of any mode, 7.2%. Air freight increased 4.9% followed by rail at 2.4%. The two modes that move the most mineral fuels saw their total value of shipments decline on a year-over-year basis; pipeline by 1.2% and vessel by 7.6%.

Of the $5.1bn increase in the value of US-NAFTA freight from October 2013, truck freight contributed the most, $4.4bn, followed by rail, $0.4bn.

Trucks carry three-fifths of US-NAFTA freight and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both US-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $33.8bn of exports and $32.3bn of imports.

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 15.1% of all US-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 7.7%; pipeline, 7.3%; and air, 3.8%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.5% of the total US-NAFTA freight flows.

Year-over-year, the percentage change in the value of US-Canada freight moved by truck increased the most of any mode, growing 4.7%. Freight moved by air increased 1.7% and rail by 0.7%. Freight moved by pipeline decreased 2.6% and vessel decreased 14.7%, mainly due to lower mineral fuel prices.

Trucks carried 54.8% of the $58.6bn of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail, 16.1%; pipeline, 12.8%; vessel, 4.9% and air, 4.5%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.7% of the total US-Canada freight flows.

Year-over-year, the value of US-Mexico pipeline freight rose 33.2%, the largest percentage increase of any mode, due to an increase in US exports of mineral fuels. Freight moved by air increased 11.1%; truck, 9.6%; and rail 4.9%. Freight moved by vessel decreased 3.3%.

Trucks carried 68.5% of the $49.7bn of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail, 13.9%; vessel, 10.9%; air, 3.0%; and pipeline, 0.8%. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.2% of the total US-Mexico freight flows.

In October 2014, the top commodity category transported between the US and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $7.4bn, or 63.1%, moved by pipeline. The top commodity category transported between the US and Mexico in October 2014 was electrical machinery, of which $8.8bn, or 91.1%, moved by trucks.

For more detailed information on US-NAFTA imports and exports please visit the Ti Dashboard.

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