Trucks Transport Majority of Goods Traded Among North American Countries by NAFTA

Image via Flickr by Bexar County Economic Development Department

The NAFTA trade agreement among the United States, Canada, and Mexico accounted for $91.1 billion over the past year. Trucks carry most of these goods, hauling 57.2 percent of all NAFTA imports and exports, equating to $26.3 billion in U.S. exports and $25.2 billion in U.S. imports. Overall, NAFTA trade transport by trucks was up 7.2 percent between December 2012 and December 2013. Railroads carry the second highest amount of goods, but rail use for NAFTA transports fell 2.3 percent in this time. Vessel use rose by 10.7 percent, while air transport fell by 3.2 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The value of the rail freight fell, though trains still carry 14.9 percent of all NAFTA traded goods. Vessels transport 11.2 percent, while pipelines transfer 7.7 percent and air transports 4 percent. The surface modes of transportation, including trucks, railroads, and pipelines, account for 79.7 percent of total NAFTA goods transport.

Total NAFTA trade between December 2012 and December 2013 climbed by 6.4 percent, while surface modes of transport (truck, rail, and pipeline) during that time rose by 6.5 percent. The total value of these trades climbed by 3.5 percent in this year.

Trade between the United States and Canada grew the most of any segment of NAFTA trade, increasing by 21.9 percent. Most of the growth between these two nations involved mineral fuels. December trading with Canada amounted to $50 billion, with trucks carrying 52.2 percent, railroads transporting 15.7 percent, pipelines transferring 13.2 percent, vessels hauling 7.1 percent, and air taking just 4.7 percent.Surface transport systems trucking, railways, and pipelines together accounted for 81.2 percent of these transports.

NAFTA growth in trade between the United States and Mexico primarily consisted in electrical machinery. Trade between the two countries grew by 17.5 percent, with vessel transport increasing by 14.8 percent and air transport declining by .02 percent. Truck transport between the United States and Mexico climbed by 9.8 percent.

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