NAFTA import trade by weight increased almost 4% in February

The value of goods imported by the US from its NAFTA partners, Canada and Mexico, declined almost 3.0% compared to the same period in 2012. However, there was more trade imported by weight moving across borders in February 2013 compared to February 2012. In fact, total trade by weight (in kg) increased 3.8%.

While trucks carried the most goods by value during the month of February, pipelines carried the most in weight. This is not really surprising given the growing activities of the oil industry.

The percentage by mode based on total NAFTA import weight is shown below:

Total NAFTA US imports by weight from Canada increased 5.6% with truck weight increasing 10.2%, rail increasing 3.7%, air increasing 3.4%, vessel declining 6.1% and pipeline increasing 14%. The decline in weight by vessel may be due to a shift from using this mode for mineral oils transport to using pipelines instead.

The top imported commodities by mode were: mineral fuels for vessels and pipeline, vehicles for truck and rail and computer-related machinery and parts for air.

Total NAFTA US imports by weight from Mexico declined 0.5% with truck weight increasing 1.9%, rail increasing 2.2%, air declining 11.3%, no change in vessel and pipeline declining 28.2%. The decline in the use of air may be due to a shift to truck usage, whereas the steep decline in pipeline may be attributed to declines in Mexican oil and gas production and issues with Pemex which has a monopoly on Mexico’s oil and gas industry.

The top imported commodities by mode were: mineral fuels for vessels and pipeline, electrical machinery, equipment and parts for truck and air and vehicles for rail.

While Canadian imports by weight were strong despite a decline in vessel weight, Mexican data appears not as strong. Perhaps further development of airfreight can be encouraged? It may not only be a safer alternative, but certainly a time-saver for commodities moving across an already congested border.

Even though double-digit decline in pipeline certainly did not help, for the first two months of the year, Mexican imports by weight have declined almost 3%. For Canada, imports by weight have increased 8.6% which could probably be attributed to a rise in oil and gas industry activity.