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NAFTA means more Canada-Mexico freight: study

TORONTO, Ont. - While most border-bound truckers are hauling freight to and from the U.S., a growing amount of cargo is traveling across the entire continent, thanks to the North American Free Trade A...



TORONTO, Ont. – While most border-bound truckers are hauling freight to and from the U.S., a growing amount of cargo is traveling across the entire continent, thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Canada’s highway-hauled imports from Mexico jumped from US $889 million in 1990 to US $2.3 billion in 1995, and then climbed to US $2.8 billion in 1996, according to a recently released report compiled by the statistical agencies of Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.

The 400-page study, North American Transportation in Figures, is a crunching of transport-related numbers from the three countries under the auspices of the North American Transportation Statistics Interchange – basically, a branch of NAFTA.

The trade deal came into force on January 1994.

Covering the years 1990, 1995 and 1996, “the report strives to present a balanced picture of the benefits transportation confers as well as the impacts it has,” on the three country’s economies.

According to the study, Canada’s road-based merchandise trade with Mexico increased from US $1.1 billion in 1990 to US $3.1 billion in 1996. Canada’s total trade with Mexico, over the same period, went from US $2.1 billion to US $5.4 billion.

Canada’s road-delivered exports to Mexico were worth US $244 million in 1990, increased to US $295 million in 1995, then climbed to US $301 million in 1996.

All values are inflation-adjusted U.S. dollars.

According to the report, Canada had 234,000 truck drivers in 1990, 224,000 in 1995 and 237,000 in 1996, while the U.S. had 2.6 million, 2.9 million, and 3 million, respectively. By way of comparison, workers in transportation occupations in Canada totaled 418,000 in 1990, 430,000 in 1995 and 429,000 in 1996; the U.S. totaled 4 million in 1990, 4.3 million in 1995, and 4.4 million in 1996. Data from Mexico wasn’t provided.

As for the number of commercial-freight vehicles on the road, Canada had 176,368 in 1990; 181,568 in 1995 and 206,305 in 1996. Mexico had 3 million in 1990, 3.6 million in 1995 and 3.7 million in 1996. The U.S. had 6.2 million in 1990, 6.7 million in 1995 and 7.1 million in 1996.

Trucking, warehousing and storage accounted for US $7.7 billion dollars of Canada’s gross domestic products in 1990, US $8.7 billion in 1995 and US $8.6 billion in 1996, and accounted for US $9.7 billion of Mexico’s GDP in 1990, US $9.4 billion in 1995 and US $11.3 billion in 1996. Of the States’ GDP, it accounted for US $75.8 billion in 1990, US $98 billion in 1995 and US $92.9 billion in 1996.

In 1990, Canada spent US $10.2 billion on road expenditures, followed by US $8.9 billion in 1995 then US $8.6 billion in 1996. Mexico, in 1990, spent US $655 million, then spent US $892 million in 1995 and then, one year later, US $1.3 billion. The U.S., easily dwarfing both Canada and Mexico, spent US $61.8 billion in 1990, US $77.8 billion in 1995 and then US $78.4 billion in 1996.

Although neither Canada nor Mexico provided total government expenditures, the U.S. did: US $96.4 billion in 1990, US $123.1 billion in 1995, US $124.5 billion in 1996. As you can see, the U.S., each year, put more than 60 per cent of its money into building and upgrading its roads and highways.

In terms of road safety, Canada suffered 3,963 road fatalities in 1990, 3,351 in 1995 and 3,091 in 1996. Of those figures, large truck fatalities totaled 107, 72 and 59, respectively. Furthermore, large trucks accounted for 3,951 of the 262,680 road injuries in Canada in 1990, 3,377 of the 241,935 recorded in 1995 and 3,231 of the 230,890 recorded in 1996.

Our safety record is improving.

Mexico, on the other hand, had 10,201 deaths on its roadways in 1990, 9,043 deaths in 1995 and 9,305 deaths in 1996: large-truck deaths totaled 67 in 1990, 125 in 1995 and 176 in 1996. Large trucks were involved in 638 of 93,325 injuries recorded on Mexico’s roadways in 1990; 1,025 of 121,638 in 1995; and 1,340 of the 115,274 in 1996.

A total of 44,599 people were killed on U.S. roads in 1990, 41,817 were killed in 1995 and 42,065 were killed in 1996: truck deaths were 705 in 1990, 648 in 1995 and 621 in 1996. n


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