U.S. freight shipments with Canada, Mexico reached record high in 2006

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Goods valued at more than $866 billion crossed the U.S. border in trade with Canada and Mexico in 2006, 9.7 percent higher than the previous record set in 2005, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, released the data today, Nov. 19, as part of the third annual update of the North American Transportation Statistics (NATS) online database.

Freight weighing nearly 475 million tons was transported through U.S. land borders, airports and seaports to and from locations in Canada and Mexico in 2006. U.S. merchandise trade with Canada and Mexico, its two largest trading partners, rose by more than $252 billion, or by 41.1 percent, between 2001 and 2006.

BTS’s third annual update of the NATS database contains the most comparable transportation-related data available from the United States, Canada and Mexico in a one-stop online resource. The NATS database is co-sponsored by BTS and the U.S. Census Bureau with the federal-level transportation and statistical agencies of Canada and Mexico.

The value of freight shipments moving between the United States, Canada and Mexico grew at an average rate of nearly 7.1 percent per year between 2001 and 2006. The total value of U.S. freight shipments with Mexico grew 42.7 percent or 7.4 percent annually. Goods shipped in trade with Canada grew 40.2 percent or 7.1 percent annually.

Trucks carried 62 percent of this freight measured by value — $534 billion in 2006. Rail carried 15 percent, followed by maritime with 8 percent, pipeline with 7 percent, and air with 4 percent. Trucks saw the largest modal increase in shipment value from 2005 to 2006 — $43 billion, followed by rail (up $12 billion) and maritime (up $12 billion).

New data in the NATS database shows America’s top gateways for trade with Canada and Mexico. In 2006, Detroit was the top road gateway, with $115 billion in international road shipments passing through that gateway.

A product of the NATS Interchange established in 1991, the NATS database provides three-country comparative information on transportation activity and its impact. It covers the following subject areas: country overview, transportation and the economy, transportation safety, transportation’s impact on energy and the environment, domestic freight activity, North American merchandise trade, international merchandise trade, domestic passenger travel, North American passenger travel, international passenger travel, transportation infrastructure and vehicles.

With text available in English, French and Spanish, the NATS database can be found at http://nats.sct.gob.mx/.