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NAFTA Freight Flow Values Down in 2015

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The value of freight flows between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners dropped 7.2 percent from 2014 to 2015 to $1.1 trillion, according to statistics released March 18 by the Department of Transportation. DOT states that this decline was almost entirely due to the drop in crude oil and petroleum prices, as the value of petroleum-related commodity shipments plummeted almost 40 percent while the value of other freight slipped only 0.9 percent. This phenomenon also played a key role in the large declines in the value of freight carried by vessel (29.7 percent) and pipeline (39.4 percent). Shipment values fell in the other three major transportation modes as well – 0.4 percent for truck, 1.8 percent for air and 7.1 percent for rail.

The value of U.S. freight flows with Canada was down 12.6 percent from 2014 to 2015 while the value of U.S. freight flows with Mexico dropped just 0.6 percent. Vehicles and parts (other than railway) retained their spot as the top commodity category for all modes transported between the U.S. and Canada, as did electrical machinery with respect to U.S.-Mexico trade.

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