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NAFTA Freight Flow Values Reverse Course, Tumble in November

Friday, January 29, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The value of monthly freight flows between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners dropped 8.9 percent from October to November to $88.2 billion, according to statistics released Jan. 28 by the Department of Transportation. The value of NAFTA freight flows was also down 8.4 percent from a year earlier. However, the DOT notes, Canada regained its historical rank as the United States’ top North American trade partner in November after falling behind Mexico in total trade value for the first time in October.

Month-to-Month Changes. Percentage changes in the value of monthly U.S. freight flows by mode of transportation from October to November include the following.

Total

Canada

Mexico

Imports

Exports

Imports

Exports

Imports

Exports

Truck

-10.6

-9.3

-6.1

-7.2

-13.4

-11.5

Rail

-2.7

-6.0

+1.6

-2.9

-8.3

-8.9

Vessel

-8.0

-14.2

-7.4

-26.1

-8.5

-6.8

Air

-15.0

-20.9

-9.6

-13.2

-22.6

-31.3

Pipeline

-2.4

+0.5

-2.1

+10.2

-30.4

-15.4

Year-on-Year Changes. The value of total U.S. trade with Canada was down 13.8 percent from November 2014 (following an 18.5 percent drop in October) as all modes carried smaller total values of freight. The value of U.S. trade with Mexico dropped 1.9 percent despite the air and truck modes having carried a higher value of freight than a year earlier. Vehicles and parts 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.

Percentage changes in the value of monthly U.S. freight flows by mode of transportation from November 2014 to November 2015 include the following.

Total

Canada

Mexico

Imports

Exports

Imports

Exports

Imports

Exports

Truck

+4.7

-5.2

+0.9

-10.6

+7.5

+1.7

Rail

-6.0

-16.6

-10.5

-20.9

+1.3

-12.2

Vessel

-49.2

-34.8

-48.5

-43.5

-49.6

-29.4

Air

-6.4

-7.9

-12.1

-12.8

+4.2

+1.7

Pipeline

-44.0

-39.4

-44.2

-39.4

+6.7

-39.2

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