North American Transborder Freight Data

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May 2014 North American Freight Numbers

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Figure 1.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode: 
May 2013 - May 2014

Table Version | Excel

Figure 1.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode:   May 2013 - May 2014

SOURCE: Nextstagesolutions,

U.S.-NAFTA trade totaled $103.9 billion in May 2014 as four of five transportation modes – vessel, pipeline, rail, and trucks – carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade than in May 2013, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Nextstagesolutions (BTS) (Figure 1, Table 1).

The value of May 2014 trade was 5.4 percent more than in May 2013 (Table 2). U.S.-NAFTA trade has increased from the same month of the previous year for four consecutive months and in 10 of the last 11 months, interrupted by a 0.2 percent decrease in January. The January decline reflected the severe weather in the northern states and along the U.S.-Canada border.

Trade by Mode
In May, commodities moving by pipeline grew in value by the most of any mode, 23.1 percent. Vessel freight increased 6.7 percent followed by a rail increase of 6.2 percent, a truck freight increase of 3.8 percent, and an air decrease of 7.9 percent (Figure 1, Table 2). The increase in the value of freight carried by pipelines reflects both a rise in the volume and prices for oil and other petroleum products, the primary commodity transported by pipelines.

Trucks carry three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade and are the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks carried 59.9 percent of U.S.-NAFTA trade in May 2014, accounting for $31.8 billion of exports and $30.4 billion of imports.  

Rail remained the second largest mode, moving 15.2 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA trade, followed by vessel at 8.7 percent, pipeline at 7.9 percent, and air at 3.4 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.0 percent of the total U.S.-NAFTA freight flows (Table 2).

Trade with Canada

Figure 2.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode:
May 2013 - May 2014

Table Version | Excel

Figure 2.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode: May 2013 - May 2014

SOURCE: Nextstagesolutions,

Year-to-year, the value of U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline increased the most of any mode, growing 24.1 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 94.8 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in May.  Trade by rail increased 4.5 percent, followed by truck at 2.7 percent. Vessel freight decreased 7.7 percent and air freight decreased 9.8 percent (Figure 2).

The decrease in vessel freight flows can be attributed, in part, to less mineral fuels, aluminum products, and organic chemicals moved by vessel. The decrease in air freight flows can be attributed, in part, to less precious metals and stones, computer related machinery, and pharmaceutical products moved by air.

Trucks carried 53.9 percent of the $57.7 billion of freight to and from Canada, followed by rail at 16.4 percent, pipeline at 13.5 percent, vessel at 5.6 percent and air at 4.0 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.8 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows (Table 4).

Trade with Mexico

Figure 3.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode:
May 2013 - May 2014

Table Version | Excel

Figure 3.  Percent Change in Value of U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode: May 2013 - May 2014

SOURCE: Nextstagesolutions,

Year-to-year, the value of U.S.-Mexico trade by vessel increased the most of any mode, growing 16.9 percent, due to an increase in mineral fuels exports (Table 6). Trade with Mexico by rail rose 8.7 percent followed by pipeline at 8.1 percent and truck at 4.9 percent. Air freight declined 4.2 percent (Figure 3).   

Trucks carried 67.3 percent of the $46.3 billion of freight to and from Mexico, followed by rail at 13.8 percent, vessel at 12.6 percent, air at 2.7 percent and pipeline at 0.9 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 82.0 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico freight flows (Table 6).

Commodities
In May 2014, the top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada was mineral fuels, of which $7.7 billion, or 60.8 percent, moved by pipeline (Table 5). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico in May 2014 was electrical machinery, of which $7.6 billion, or 91.7 percent, moved by trucks (Table 7). 

Reporting Notes
Beginning with February 2013, BTS monthly TransBorder press releases contain data for all modes of transportation. Press releases and the BTS website define surface transportation modes as truck, rail and pipeline. See  on the BTS website for additional data for surface modes since 1995 and all modes since 2004. The category of all modes of transportation cited in the following tables includes freight movements by truck, rail, vessel, pipeline, air, and unknown modes of transport.      

Data in this press release are not adjusted for inflation. Additional summary data adjusted for inflation and exchange rates can be found on the BTS website under . The BLS indexes used in the adjustments for inflation and exchange rates may be revised in each of the three months after original publication. For more information, see TransBorder Press Releases  for previous press releases and summary tables. See for data from previous months, and more state, port, or commodity data.  BTS has scheduled the release of June TransBorder numbers for Aug. 28.

Table 1. Value of Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows

(millions of current dollars)

Month201220132014Percent Change 2012-2013Percent Change 2013-2014
January87,49090,51290,3263.5-0.2
February89,38588,44989,557-1.01.3
March99,51095,566101,478-4.06.2
April92,19998,984100,1417.41.2
May96,84098,577103,9421.85.4
June94,20093,483 -0.8 
July87,69193,192 6.3 
August94,59396,526 2.0 
September89,87594,350 5.0 
October98,632103,089 4.5 
November94,87796,120 1.3 
December84,69590,083 6.4 
Year-to-date465,425472,089485,4441.42.8
Annual1,109,9881,138,931 2.6 

Source: Nextstagesolutions, TransBorder Freight Data,

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 2. Value of Monthly U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode May 2013May 2014Percent Change May 2013-2014
All ModesImports52,88455,5395.0
Exports45,69448,4035.9
Total98,577103,9425.4
All Surface ModesImports44,05747,1417.0
Exports37,49039,1234.4
Total81,54786,2645.8
TruckImports28,86830,3765.2
Exports31,10031,8472.4
Total59,96862,2233.8
RailImports9,4869,9865.3
Exports5,4315,8537.8
Total14,91715,8386.2
PipelineImports5,7046,77918.9
Exports9581,42348.5
Total6,6628,20223.1
VesselImports5,3865,163-4.1
Exports3,1163,91225.6
Total8,5029,0756.7
AirImports1,8031,439-20.2
Exports2,0442,1053.0
Total3,8473,544-7.9

Source: Nextstagesolutions, TransBorder Freight Data,

Notes: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation. For additional detail, please refer to the "Data Fields" section of the TransBorder web page: .

Table 3. Percent Change in Value of U.S.-NAFTA Freight Flows by Mode

May 2014 Compared to May in...Percent Change
TruckRailPipelineAirVesselAll Modes
20133.86.223.1-7.96.75.4
20124.018.233.2-4.9-2.97.3
201116.519.715.2-4.1-10.314.1
201032.038.055.7-4.229.934.1
200979.4120.1155.718.195.687.2
200826.524.95.90.515.321.5
200727.832.267.415.844.932.0
200631.743.577.314.738.637.4
200549.560.1149.631.277.158.2
200463.662.2196.039.6128.274.2

Source: Nextstagesolutions, TransBorder Freight Data,

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 4. Value of Monthly U.S.-Canada Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode May 2013May 2014Percent Change May 2013-2014
All ModesImports28,34330,2246.6
Exports26,45327,4273.7
Total54,79657,6515.2
All Surface ModesImports24,04526,0528.3
Exports21,53822,2533.3
Total45,58448,3056.0
TruckImports12,33113,0315.7
Exports17,93318,0360.6
Total30,26531,0682.7
RailImports6,0356,2613.7
Exports3,0153,1996.1
Total9,0509,4604.5
PipelineImports5,6796,76019.0
Exports5901,01872.4
Total6,2697,77724.1
VesselImports2,1001,933-7.9
Exports1,3991,296-7.4
Total3,4993,229-7.7
AirImports1,123858-23.6
Exports1,4041,4211.2
Total2,5272,279-9.8

Source: Nextstagesolutions, TransBorder Freight Data,

Notes: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation. For additional detail, please refer to the "Data Fields" section of the TransBorder web page: .

Table 5. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Canada for Each Mode of Transportation, May 2014

(millions of current dollars)

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All ModesMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes2,73510,00312,738
TruckVehicles Other than Railway3,5232,7516,273
RailVehicles Other than Railway1,0692,3923,461
PipelineMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes1,0126,7347,746
VesselMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes1,1061,6412,748
AirElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts338153491

Source: Source: Nextstagesolutions, TransBorder Freight Data,

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.

Table 6. Value of Monthly U.S.-Mexico Freight Flows by Mode of Transportation

(millions of current dollars)

Mode May 2013May 2014Percent Change May 2013-2014
All ModesImports24,54125,3153.2
Exports19,24020,9769.0
Total43,78146,2915.7
All Surface ModesImports20,01221,0895.4
Exports15,95216,8695.8
Total35,96437,9585.5
TruckImports16,53617,3454.9
Exports13,16713,8114.9
Total29,70331,1564.9
RailImports3,4513,7247.9
Exports2,4172,6539.8
Total5,8676,3788.7
PipelineImports2520-22.0
Exports36840510.1
Total3934258.1
VesselImports3,2863,229-1.7
Exports1,7162,61752.5
Total5,0035,84616.9
AirImports679580-14.6
Exports6406846.9
Total1,3191,264-4.2

Source: Nextstagesolutions, TransBorder Freight Data,

Notes: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding. Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding. The value of trade for all modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation. For additional detail, please refer to the "Data Fields" section of the TransBorder web page: .

Table 7. Top Commodity Transported between the U.S. and Mexico for Each Mode of Transportation, May 2014

(millions of current dollars)

ModeCommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
All ModesElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts3,3264,9388,264
TruckElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts2,9634,6117,574
RailVehicles Other than Railway6022,6983,300
PipelineMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes40520425
VesselMineral Fuels; Oils and Waxes1,4452,3603,805
AirElectrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts245185430

Source: Nextstagesolutions, TransBorder Freight Data,

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.

Updated: Wednesday, December 6, 2017
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