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Trucks tops in NAFTA freight game

Posted: August 1, 2014

WASHINGTON — Truckers are not only king of the road, but all freight movement as well, beating out rail, maritime, pipeline and air.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), trucks carried 58 percent of the freight measured by value between the U.S., Canada and Mexico in 2008, accounting for $554 billion.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, released the data this week as part of the fifth annual update of the North American Transportation Statistics (NATS) online database.

According to the data, the number of trucks entering the U.S. in 2008 was 10.8 million, including 5.89 million from Canada and 4.87 million from Mexico.

The value of freight shipments moving between the United States, Canada and Mexico grew at an average rate of nearly 8.9 percent per year between 2003 and 2008. More specifically, goods shipped in trade with Canada grew 51.5 percent or 8.7 percent annually.

The latest version of the NATS database shows America’s top gateways for trade with Canada and Mexico, which in 2008 was Detroit with $101 billion in international road shipments passing through that gateway.

While trucks carried 58 percent of freight measured by value in 2008, rail carried 15 percent, followed by maritime with 10 percent, pipeline with 9 percent and air with 4 percent. Pipeline was the largest modal increase in shipment value from 2007 to 2008 up $28 billion.

In total, more than $964 billion worth of goods crossed the U.S. border in trade with Canada and Mexico last year, up 6.1 percent from 2007. U.S. merchandise trade with Canada and Mexico, its two largest trading partners, rose by more than $335 billion or by 53.2 percent in the five years between 2003 and 2008.

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