Trucks carried majority of U.S.-NAFTA trade in May

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently released its monthly statistics on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The numbers show trucks play a critical role in transporting cargo between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners, Canada and Mexico, and will continue to do so in the future, heightening the need for route optimization software over medium- and long-haul runs. 

Trucks handle majority of shipments
The newly released statistics indicate overall, trucks were responsible for carrying 60.8 percent of the $98.6 billion in freight transported in May 2013. This was by far the most critical mode of transportation, as rail followed the trucking industry carrying a mere 15.1 percent of cargo, vessels accounted for 8.6 percent, pipelines were responsible for 6.8 percent and air handled 3.9 percent.

Certain states contributed more to overall freight flow to Mexico or Canada because of their close proximity to these neighboring countries. Michigan and Illinois were responsible for the most shipments in terms of value to Canada, while Texas and California had the most freight flowing into Mexico.

Freight values continue to increase
The prevalence of trucks transporting goods between the U.S., Canada and Mexico could continue to grow as the economy improves. According to the BTS, the value of goods transported in May jumped 1.8 percent year-over-year and 77.5 percent when compared to May 2009. The value of freight transported by trucks specifically jumped 0.2 percent year-over-year, suggesting the industry is playing a central role in the continued trade between the U.S. and its NAFTA partners.

As the economy continues to recover and shipments keep gaining ground, more transportation companies may be required to make additional stops and haul additional freight across the country or to Canada or Mexico and monthly NAFTA numbers could continue to rise. As firms schedule even more pickups and deliveries to accommodate clients in different parts of the U.S. or other countries, they will need to ensure runs are as efficient as possible by implementing the use of route planning software. Such technology not only allows managers to spend fewer hours manually plotting routes, but can permit drivers to finish runs more quickly and with less fuel, helping a company save resources in the long run.