BTS reports 2012 U.S. surface trade hits a new record high

Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico was up 6.2 percent in 2012 compared to 2011, increasing to $960 billion.

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Trade using surface transportation between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico was up 6.2 percent in 2012 compared to 2011, increasing to $960 billion, according to data released this week by the United States Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

BTS said this tally represents the highest annual dollar amount for cross-border trade since NAFTA took effect in 1994, topping 2011’s $904 billion.

Surface transportation, according to the BTS, is comprised mainly of freight movements by truck, trail, and pipeline, and nearly 90 percent of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moves by land. According to the BTS 85.5 percent of U.S. trade by value with Canada and Mexico moved on land in 2011, and total North American surface transportation trade is up 42.0 percent since 2009, when it fell 23.3 percent compared to 2008.

BTS said that total North American surface transportation imports were up 5.6 percent annually in 2012, while exports were up 6.9 percent.

BTS said the value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada was up 3.6 percent year-over-year in 2012 at $73.3 billion. Imports carried by rail were up 7.4 percent annually, and the value of exports carried by rail was up 11.8 percent. Michigan again paced all states in surface trade with Canada in 2011 at $73.3 billion.

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Mexico was up 10.0 percent year over year in 2012 at $403.9 billion. Imports carried by rail were valued 14.3 percent higher annually, said the BTS, and the value of exports carried by rail was up 11.1 percent. Texas led all states in surface trade with Mexico in 2012 at $145.8 billion, marking the fourth time on record that Texas has had more than $100 billion in trade with Mexico by surface modes of transportation in a calendar year.


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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