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NAFTA Freight Flows Fall 6.3% in December but Rise 2.6% in 2013

Friday, February 28, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Monthly freight flows between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners declined in December to $90.1 billion, according to statistics released Feb. 27 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 :

- fell for the second straight month, by 6.3%, after a record high in October;

- grew 6.4% from December 2012, including increases of 7.2% for truck, 21.7% for pipeline (including a 69.8% jump in exports a month after a 13.1% decline) and 10.7% for vessel (including a 23.6%  gain for exports) along with decreases of 2.3% for rail (despite a 0.7% increase in exports) and 3.2% for air (where a 3.5% uptick in exports was overshadowed by a 12.1% drop in imports);

- was up 53.6% compared to December 2004, including 39.6% for truck, 53.3% for rail, 95.8% for pipeline, 27.6% for air and 166.6% for vessel; and

- rose 2.6% in 2013 compared to 2012, compared to a 4.9% increase between 2011 and 2012.

U.S.-Canada trade totaled $50.0 billion in December, down 5.3% from November but up 4.2% from the previous year. The value of freight carried increased year-on-year for truck (4.8%, including a 10.8% rise in imports), pipeline (21.9%, including a 108.3% jump in exports) and vessel (3.7%, where a 64.8% increase in exports overcame a 19.5% drop in imports) but fell for rail (8.2%) and air (4.8%, including a 13.0% fall in imports).

U.S.-Mexico trade fell to $40.1 billion in December, down 7.4% from November but up 9.2% from a year earlier. Compared to December 2012 the value of freight increased for truck (9.8%, rail (7.4%), pipeline (17.5%, despite a 14.7% drop in imports) and vessel (14.8%) but fell for air (0.2%, despite an 11.3% rise in exports).

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