NAFTA Surface Trade Tops $80 Billion for First Time


Surface transportation trade among the United States, Canada and Mexico jumped 15.6% in March from a year ago, topping $80 billion for the first time on record, the Department of Transportation said Tuesday.

Trade among the North American Free Trade Agreement partners rose to $80.8 billion — 8.8% higher than April 2008, which had been the highest on record, DOT’s Bureau of Trade Statistics said in its monthly report. Records have been kept since 1994.

Freight value jumped 21.5% from February. Monthly changes are affected by seasonal factors, DOT said. The level was 14.2% over the early-recession level of March 2008.

U.S. truck imports rose 13.7% year-over-year to $27.5 billion, while exports gained 17.2% to $29 billion.

Rail imports rose 8.3% to $8.4 billion, while exports increased 12.5% to $4.8 billion. Pipeline imports rose 14.1% to $6 billion and exports rose 21%, to $729 million.

U.S.-Canada trade rose 15.7% year-over-year to $48.7 billion, DOT said.

U.S.-Mexico trade improved 15.3% to $32.1 billion, the first time that level has topped $30 billion.

Surface transportation consists largely of freight movements by truck, rail and pipeline. Almost 90% of U.S. trade among NAFTA partners moves by land.

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