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July 2012 Surface Trade with Canada and Mexico Rose 4.6 Percent From July 2011

Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, was 4.6 percent higher in July 2012 than in July 2011, totaling $75.7 billion, unadjusted for inflation (Table 1 and Figure 1), according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the 4.6 percent annual increase is the lowest year-to-year rise since increases resumed in December 2009 following the recession. The lower growth rate reflects the reduced cost of oil and gas, the largest commodity traded by value.  Adjusted for inflation and exchange rates, the July 2012 total was $56.0 billion in 2004 dollars, up 8.8 percent from July 2011. 

The July 2012 value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico rose 5.7 percent from July 2008 during the last recession (Table 3). Data in the press release are not adjusted for inflation, except for monthly totals in Figure 1.

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico in July increased by 82.8 percent compared to July 2002, a period of 10 years. Imports in July were up 66.7 percent since July 2002, while exports were up 105.1 percent (Table 3).  See Transborder Press Releases for historical data.

Surface transportation includes freight movements by truck, rail, pipeline, mail, Foreign Trade Zones, and other modes of transport.  In July, 86.3 percent of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moved via land, 10.0 percent moved by vessel, and 3.7 percent moved by air (Figure 2).

Figure 2: North American Freight by Mode, July 2012

Table Version | Excel | CSV

Figure 2: North American Freight by Mode, July 2012

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico decreased 8.4 percent in July 2012 from June 2012 (Table 2). Month-to-month changes can be affected by seasonal variations and other factors.

U.S. trade by surface transportation with Mexico has increased at a faster pace than trade with Canada. U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico surface transportation trade in July 2012 both increased compared to July 2011 with U.S.-Canada trade reaching $42.9 billion, a 1.0 percent increase, and U.S.-Mexico trade reaching $32.7 billion, a 9.7 percent increase. For trade statistics by mode, see Table 4 for Canada and Table 6 for Mexico.

 In July, Illinois led all states in surface trade with Canada, at $4.9 billion, a 9.3 percent increase from July 2011 (Table 5).  This is the first time that Illinois has surpassed Michigan in surface trade with Canada since October 2009.  Many automotive plants in Michigan retool their production facilities in July for the upcoming model year, which reduces Michigan trade with Canada, as much of that trade is in automobiles and auto parts.

The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada by surface modes of transportation in July was oil and gas, valued at $7.9 billion (Table 8). Oil and gas displaced vehicles as the top commodity in July, due to auto plant retooling in July.  

Texas continued to lead all states in surface trade with Mexico at $11.9 billion, an 11.8 percent increase from July 2011.  Of the top 10 states by value, Tennessee had the biggest percentage increase, 31.7 percent (Table 7). The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Mexico by surface modes of transportation in July was electrical machinery with $6.7 billion in trade (Table 9).

Technical Note: The BLS indexes used for Figure 1 adjustment may be revised in each of the three months after original publication.  For example, index values released in January 2012 will be subject to revision in February, March and April of that year.

For more information, see Transborder Press Releases for previous’ press releases and summary tables. See TransBorder Freight Data for data from previous months, and individual state data.  BTS has scheduled the release of August TransBorder numbers for Oct. 30.

Table 1. Value of Monthly U.S. Surface Transportation Trade with Canada and Mexico

(millions of current U.S. dollars)

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Month201020112012Percent Change 2010-2011Percent Change 2011-2012
January56,69767,73475,53419.511.5
February59,49266,53478,13511.817.4
March69,94380,82285,82715.66.2
April65,83173,76779,78412.18.2
May66,80577,31883,77015.78.3
June69,85977,52182,60111.06.6
July61,26072,36375,69418.14.6
August67,96480,406 18.3 
September68,32477,725 13.8 
October70,56579,040 12.0 
November68,06076,672 12.7 
December66,53074,230 11.6 
Year-to-date449,886516,059561,34514.78.8
Annual791,329904,133 14.3 

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://www.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/

NOTE: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.  Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 2. U.S. Surface Transportation Trade with Canada and Mexico by Surface Modes of Transportation

(millions of current U.S. dollars)

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Mode July 2011June 2012July 2012Percent Change June 2012 - July 2012Percent Change July 2011 - 2012
All Surface ModesImports38,78844,07940,126-9.03.4
Exports33,57638,52335,568-7.75.9
Total72,36382,60175,694-8.44.6
TruckImports23,69527,69025,103-9.35.9
Exports25,87229,85327,292-8.65.5
RailImports7,6449,3568,181-12.67.0
Exports4,3895,2824,811-8.99.6
PipelineImports6,3495,5495,446-1.9-14.2
Exports79667575011.0-5.7

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://www.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.   Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.  The value of trade for all surface modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail and pipeline modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation.  For additional detail, please refer to the “Data Fields” section of the TransBorder web page: http://www.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataFields.html

Table 3. July 2012 Surface Transportation Trade with Canada and Mexico Compared with July of Prior Years

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Compared to July in...Percent Change
ImportsExportsTotal Surface Trade
20113.45.94.6
201023.523.723.6
200945.348.646.9
2008-0.313.35.7
200714.233.322.4
200625.149.035.3
200539.869.552.3
200442.578.457.4
200362.798.277.7
200266.7105.182.8

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://www.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/

Table 4. U.S. Surface Transportation Trade with Canada

(millions of current U.S. dollars)

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Mode July 2011June 2012July 2012Percent Change June 2012 - July 2012Percent Change July 2011 - 2012
All Surface ModesImports22,37424,76422,155-10.5-1.0
Exports20,13823,63020,792-12.03.2
Total42,51248,39442,946-11.31.0
TruckImports10,42212,04910,625-11.81.9
Exports15,30418,08015,558-13.91.7
RailImports4,8066,0394,967-17.83.3
Exports2,3353,0082,728-9.316.8
PipelineImports6,3185,5235,430-1.7-14.0
Exports56345551012.1-9.3

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://www.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.   Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.  The value of trade for all surface modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail and pipeline modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation.  For additional detail, please refer to the “Data Fields” section of the TransBorder web page: http://www.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataFields.html

Table 5. Top 10 States Trading with Canada by All Surface Modes of Transportation

Ranked by July 2012 Surface Trade Value

(millions of current U.S. dollars)

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StateJuly 2011July 2012Percent Change July 2011-2012
ValueRankValueRank
 Illinois4,47424,89219.3
 Michigan4,52414,55820.7
 California2,21362,856329.0
 Ohio2,39242,61449.3
 Texas2,37452,58558.9
 New York2,43532,1806-10.5
 Washington1,69681,74773.0
 Pennsylvania1,75371,5398-12.3
 Minnesota1,54891,5159-2.1
 Indiana1,352101,448107.1

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://www.bts.gov/transborder/

NOTE: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.  Percent change based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 6. U.S. Surface Transportation Trade with Mexico

(millions of current U.S. dollars)

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Mode July 2011June 2012July 2012Percent Change June 2012 - July 2012Percent Change July 2011 - 2012
All Surface ModesImports16,41319,31417,971-7.09.5
Exports13,43814,89314,777-0.810.0
Total29,85134,20732,748-4.39.7
TruckImports13,27315,64114,478-7.49.1
Exports10,56811,77311,734-0.311.0
RailImports2,8383,3173,215-3.113.3
Exports2,0532,2742,083-8.41.4
PipelineImports312716-41.5-50.6
Exports2332202408.93.0

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://www.bts.gov/transborder/

NOTES: Numbers might not add to totals due to rounding.   Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.  The value of trade for all surface modes is not equal to the sum of truck, rail and pipeline modes, it also includes shipments made by mail, foreign trade zones, and other transportation.  For additional detail, please refer to the “Data Fields” section of the TransBorder web page: http://www.bts.gov/programs/international/transborder/TBDR_DataFields.html

Table 7. Top 10 States Trading with Mexico by All Surface Modes of Transportation

Ranked by July 2012 Surface Trade Value

(millions of current U.S. dollars)

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StateJuly 2011July 2012Percent Change July 2011-2012
ValueRankValueRank
 Texas10,726111,988111.8
 California4,49824,55321.2
 Michigan3,30833,897317.8
 Illinois1,07241,14546.8
 Arizona7795909516.7
 Ohio7536890618.3
 Tennessee5458717731.7
 Indiana550756482.6
 North Carolina4969549910.7
 Wisconsin388124401013.6

SOURCE: BTS TransBorder Freight Data, http://www.bts.gov/transborder/

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding

Table 8. Top Five Commodities Transported between the U.S. and Canada by All Surface Modes of Transportation, July 2012

(millions of current U.S. dollars)

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CommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
Oil and Gas1,0916,8697,960
Vehicles Other than Railway3,3673,3746,741
Computer-Related Machinery and Parts3,5221,4354,956
Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts1,7044982,202
Plastics1,1128331,946

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, based on Transborder Freight Data, available at http://www.bts.gov/transborder/, as of July 20, 2012.

NOTE: Numbers July not add to totals due to rounding.

Table 9. Top Five Commodities Transported between the U.S. and Mexico by All Surface Modes of Transportation, July 2012

(millions of current U.S. dollars)

Excel | CSV

CommoditiesExportsImportsTotal
Electrical Machinery; Equipment and Parts2,5754,0936,668
Computer-Related Machinery and Parts2,8223,5646,386
Vehicles Other than Railway1,6064,3095,915
Plastics1,1513131,464
Measuring and Testing Instruments3858391,225

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, based on Transborder Freight Data, available at http://www.bts.gov/transborder/, as of July 13, 2012.

NOTE: Numbers July not add to totals due to rounding.

Thursday, September 27, 2012