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NAFTA Freight Flows Virtually Unchanged in May

Thursday, August 01, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Monthly freight flows between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners fell by the slightest of margins in May, according to statistics released July 31 by the Department of Transportation. These statistics show that the value of total U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico by all modes of transportation:

- declined 0.4% from April, including decreases of 0.4% for rail, 1.7% for pipeline and 6.5% for vessel along with a 1.4% increase for air and no change for truck;

- was up 1.8% from May 2012, including increases of 0.2% for truck, 11.3% for rail, 8.1% for pipeline and 3.2% for air along with a 9.0% drop for vessel; and

- was up 65.2% compared to May 2004, including 57.6% for truck, 52.8% for rail, 140.4% for pipeline, 51.5% for air and 113.8% for vessel.

Canada. U.S.-Canada trade totaled $54.8 billion in May, virtually unchanged from April but up 2.5% from the previous year. There were monthly increases in the value of freight carried by truck (0.2%) and vessel (7.3%, including a 33.1% increase in exports) but decreases for rail (3.7%), pipeline (2.1%, despite a 12.4% increase in exports) and air (0.3%, where a 15.7% increase in imports was offset by a 10.2% decline in exports). For the year ending in May the value of freight carried increased for rail (10.5%), pipeline (6.9%, including a 60.9% increase in exports), vessel (19.3%, where a 76.0% jump in exports offset a 1.8% fall in imports) and air (6.4%) but a decline for truck shipments (1.5%).

Mexico. U.S.-Mexico trade fell 1% in May to $43.8 billion but was up 0.9% from a year earlier. There were monthly increases in the value of freight carried by rail (5.0%), pipeline (6.1%, including a 19.7% increase in imports) and air (4.7%) but decreases for truck (0.2%) and vessel (14.3%). For the year ending in May there were gains in the value of freight carried by truck (2.1%), rail (12.6%) and pipeline (32.1%) but declines for vessel (22.0%) and air (2.3%, where a 6.4% increase in exports was offset by a 9.2% drop in imports).

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