10 percent of the 16 billion tons of freight moved on the nation's transportation
system is international, either entering the country as imports or intended
for export, according to International Trade and Freight Transportation
Trends, a new report released by the U.S. Department of Transportation's
Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
71 percent of the international freight tonnage in 2001 was from imports – up
from 65 percent in 1997 – and the remaining 29 percent from exports.
shipping – which hauls more bulk, low-value goods – carried the largest
percentage of U.S. international trade in 2001: 78 percent by tonnage and
38 percent by value.
is used for high-value cargo, with 28 percent of the value but less than
1 percent of the tonnage of U.S. international trade moving by air. Trucking
carried 21 percent in 2001 by value.
modes were affected by the September 11 attacks, the 13 percent drop in
2001 in the value of air freight activity was the largest decrease of all
modes, followed by trucking at 8 percent, maritime at 3 percent and rail
at 2 percent.
- More than 19 million
containers were used to transport imports in 2001 – 6 million by ocean
vessels and 13 million by truck and rail from Canada and Mexico – showing
the challenge of maintaining transportation security while facilitating
efficient freight flows.
- The transportation-related
goods deficit was more than $75 billion in 2001, with a $100 billion deficit
in automotive vehicles and parts offsetting a $24 billion surplus in aircraft,
spacecraft and parts trade and smaller surpluses in other transportation
United States, the world leader in trade of transportation services,
had its annual surplus in this trade transformed into a deficit in 1998
and the following three years as U.S. imports carried by foreign carriers
increased and U.S exports growth slowed due to the robust growth in the
U.S. economy and the strength of the dollar during this period.
ratio of the value of United States imports and exports to gross domestic
product increased to 22 percent in 2001, up from 13 percent 11 years
earlier. This trend highlights the substantially increasing role of international
trade in the U.S. economy.