Source: BTS, Transportation Statistics Annual Report.
Since the 1970s, trade with the United States have been an increasingly important driver of economic growth for Canada and Mexico. Moreover, freight transport between Canada and the United States has become the number one growth factor in the trucking industry, underlining the dependency of the Canadian economy on American supply chains. The trade relationships between the United States and Canada is facilitated by factors of geographical proximity, the world’s longest demilitarized boundary (more potential interactions), complementary economic activities, large movements of tourists and a common language.
With the setting of NAFTA in 1994, surface trade between Canada, the United States and Mexico increased substantially. By 2014, Mexican surface trade by truck with the United States surpassed that of Canada. Peak trucking activity is usually around the month of March while the lowest level of activity is in July and December. For crossborder rail flows, the rate of increase has been slower than trucking, while the gap between Canadian and Mexican flows has not narrowed significantly. This underlines a better level of integration between Canadian and American rail networks. However, the value of crossborder trade flows between Canada and the United States has been declining since 2015, while that of Mexico continued to increase. Still, as of 2016, trade reached a peak.