BTS updates NATS database

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Updated Nov 18, 2011

Almost 10.2 million trucks, 334,818 buses and 33,790 trains entered the United States from Canada and Mexico, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ seventh annual update of the North American Transportation Statistics online database. The NATS online database provides three-country comparative information on transportation activity and its impact.

The NATS online database includes data on U.S. trade and transportation with Canada and Mexico. In 2010, goods valued at more than $918 billion crossed the U.S. border in trade with Canada and Mexico, 24.9 percent more than in 2009. Although the value of trade in 2010 was lower than the value of trade in 2008, it was higher than the value of trade in 2007.

The economic recovery from the recent global economic downturn has shown different effects on freight shipment between the United States, Canada and Mexico. Total trade between the United States and Mexico decreased 17 percent in 2009 from 2008, but recovered quickly in 2010 to reach its highest level ($393 billion) since 2005. Total trade between the United States and Canada decreased 28 percent from 2008 to 2009. Although total trade value increased 22 percent in 2010, the value of trade freight shipment ($525 billion) between the two countries in 2010 was still below its recent peak ($596 billion) reached in 2008.

Data in the NATS online database show the importance of the various modes of transportation involved in the movement of goods between Canada, Mexico and the United States. Road carried 61 percent of the total freight valued at $557 billion in 2010. Rail carried 14 percent, followed by maritime with 9 percent, pipeline with 7 percent, and air with 5 percent. Among all modes, road had the largest increase in shipment value, $102 billion, from 2009 to 2010. The value of freight shipment for both road and air modes reached their highest level since 2005.

Data in the NATS online database also show America’s top gateways for trade with Canada and Mexico. In 2010, Laredo, Texas, was the top road gateway, with $99.0 billion in international road shipments passing through that gateway.

With text available in English, French, and Spanish, the NATS online database can be found at The database covers the following subject areas: demographics, transportation, the economy, transportation safety, transportation’s impact on energy and the environment, domestic and international freight activity, domestic and international passenger travel, transportation infrastructure and vehicles. The database is co-sponsored by BTS and the U.S. Census Bureau with the federal-level transportation and statistical agencies of Canada and Mexico.