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NAFTA cross-border trade continues to grow in January to US$88b

THE total value of cross-border trade between the US and its partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which include Canada and Mexico, in January grew 6.7 per cent to US$88 billion compared with the same period last year, according to the US Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

BTS noted total NAFTA freight values have now grown in three consecutive months and four of the last six months when compared with the prior-year period. The January increase was also the largest year-over-year increase since September 2014, American Shipper reported.

For the full year in 2016, however, NAFTA freight flows fell 3.4 per cent from 2015 to $1.069 trillion in current dollars, according to BTS figures.

All five of the major transportation modes measured by BTS moved more freight by value in January, with pipeline trade jumping 42.7 per cent, marine vessel up 41.8 per cent, air up 13.7 per cent, rail up 5.5 per cent, and truck up 0.4 per cent from the previous year.

BTS attributed the substantial increase in pipeline and vessel values to a 66 per cent year-over-year increase in the price of crude oil.

Trucks continued to be the most heavily utilised mode for moving goods to and from both Canada and Mexico, accounting for 59.1 per cent ($28.2 billion) of the $47.8 billion in US imports from Canada and Mexico during the month and 66.6 per cent ($26.8 billion) of the $40.2 billion in exports, the bureau said.

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15 per cent of all US-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel (7 per cent), pipeline (6.4 percent) and air (3.9 percent).

Year over year, the value of US-Canada freight flows rose 7.1 per cent to $45 billion in January, while US-Mexico trade values increased 6.3 per cent to $43 billion.
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