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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. moving more freight to North American neighbors, USDOT says


Last year, freight moving between the United States, and Canada and Mexico approached pre-Sept. 11, 2001 levels, according to a new North American Transportation Statistics (NATS) database sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), and Canadian and Mexican agencies.

Trucks moved about 64 percent of the freight — measured by value — followed by rail, 15 percent; maritime, 6 percent; air, 5 percent; and pipeline, 5 percent.

Since 1990, the total value of freight moving between the three countries has risen 170 percent, increasing an average annual rate of about 8 percent. Each year, the value of U.S.-to-Mexico and U.S.-to-Canada freight rose 11 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

Last year, the United States traded $629 billion worth of goods with Canada and Mexico, a 4.2 percent increase compared with 2002 primarily because of a 6 percent rise in Canadian trade. Trade between the three countries reached an all-time high $657 billion in 2000, then decreased 6.8 percent and 1.4 percent in 2001 and 2002, respectively.

U.S., Canadian and Mexican transportation and statistical agencies spent three years developing the NATS, which is available in English, Spanish and French. The agencies include BTS and the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of the Census; Mexico's Ministry of Communications and Transport, Institute of Transportation, and National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics; and Transport Canada and Statistics Canada.

The NATS database provides information on transportation; North American economies, populations and labor; North American and international trade; domestic, North American and international passenger travel; infrastructure; and vehicle and transportation safety.