NAFTA freight shipments reached record high in 2007

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Goods valued at more than $909 billion crossed the U.S. border in trade with Canada and Mexico in 2007, 4.9 percent higher than the previous record set in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

Freight weighing nearly 606 million tons was transported through U.S. land borders, airports and seaports to and from locations in Canada and Mexico in 2007. U.S. merchandise trade with its North American Free Trade Agreement partners rose by more than $305 billion or by 50.6 percent between 2002 and 2007.

The value of freight shipments moving between the United States, Canada and Mexico grew at an average annual rate of nearly 8.5 percent per year between 2002 and 2007. The total value of U.S. freight shipments with Mexico grew 49.5 percent or 8.4 percent annually. Goods shipped in trade with Canada grew 51.2 percent or 8.6 percent annually.

Trucks carried 61 percent of this freight measured by value — $555 billion in 2007. Rail carried 15 percent, followed by maritime with 7 percent, pipeline with 8 percent, and air with 4 percent. Trucks saw the largest modal increase in shipment value from 2006 to 2007 — $21 billion — followed by rail (up $9 billion) and pipeline (up $4 billion).

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), released the data Wednesday, Nov. 19, as part of its annual update of the North American Transportation Statistics (NATS) online database (OD). The update 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 NATS-OD figures show, among other things, the importance of the various modes of transportation involved in the movement of goods between Canada, Mexico and the United States, and presents statistics indicating the relationships among transportation, international trade, economy, security, energy and the environment. Additionally, the NATS-OD incorporates technical and methodological footnotes in English, French and Spanish to provide users with interpretation and analysis.

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.