In Alabama, the CFS measured $89 billion of goods shipments weighing 219 million tons. Alabama accounted for approximately 2 percent of the value and 2 percent of the weight of total U.S. shipments. The CFS data cover shipments by establishments in mining, manufacturing, wholesale, and selected retail and service industries. The data exclude most shipments of crude oil; therefore, the totals and percentages do not fully reflect the contribution of pipeline shipments.
The major commodities shipped by establishments vary when measured by value and weight. The most important commodity originating in Alabama by value was food or kindred products. Other important commodities by value were: primary metal products; chemicals or allied products; pulp, paper, or allied products; and transportation equipment. Some of the main commodities shipped by weight were: lumber or wood products, excluding furniture; coal; petroleum or coal products; nonmetallic minerals; and clay, concrete, glass, or stone products.
Local transportation of freight is important to Alabama's commerce. The CFS shows that in 1993, about 34 percent of the value and 71 percent of the weight of total shipments from Alabama were shipped to destinations within the state. Approximately 23 percent of the value and 57 percent of the weight of all shipments were between places less than 50 miles apart. In comparison, about 30 percent of the value and 56 percent of the weight of total U.S. shipments were between places less than 50 miles apart. In Alabama, about 34 percent of the value and 71 percent of the weight of shipments were between places less than 100 miles apart.
About 66 percent of the value and 29 percent of the weight of all shipments from Alabama went to other states. The top destination of shipments by value was Georgia. Other important destination states by value were: Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and Mississippi. Important destination states by weight of shipments were: Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, and Louisiana.
Most commodities were moved by truck, about 83 percent of the value and 78 percent of the weight. Rail was used to transport 7 percent of the value and 12 percent of the weight. The CFS data confirm the rising importance of parcel, U.S. postal, and courier services that have emerged in recent years. In 1993, this mode of transport was used to ship 176,000 tons of goods worth about $4 billion or 5 percent of the value of all shipments in Alabama. In comparison, about 9 percent of the value of total U.S. shipments were moved by this mode.
The Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) is a comprehensive effort to learn where and how goods are shipped in the U.S. The CFS measures shipments of commodities by establishments with paid employees and engaged in manufacturing, mining, wholesale trade, or selected retail and services industries. Prior commodity surveys covered shipments only by manufacturing firms. Commodity flows are estimated for a universe of approximately 900,000 establishments.
Data collected on individual shipments include total value, total weight, commodity type, modes of transport, domestic origin and destination; data for export shipments include the city and country of destination, mode and port of exit. Information is also be obtained on whether shipments are containerized or a hazardous material. Some firms provided data concerning on-site shipping facilities and access to shipping facilities, plus data on ownership and leasing of transportation equipment.
The CFS is conducted by the Bureau of the Census as part of the Economic Census. Funding and technical guidance is provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Initiated for 1993, the CFS is scheduled for 1997 and every 5 years thereafter for years ending in 2 and 7. Commodity surveys were conducted between 1963 and 1982, but data for 1982 were not published. No data were collected for 1987. Participants will report for a sample of shipments during a 2-week period each quarter during the reporting year.
The CFS is a mail-out/mail-back survey of 200,000 sampled employer establishments in selected industries. Establishments were selected by stratified sample, with strata based on geographic location and industry. Geographic strata are the 89 National Transportation Analysis Regions(NTARs), which provide nationwide coverage and are aggregations of Bureau of Economic Analysis economic areas. Within the strata, all establishments with annualized employment above a specified cutoff were selected with certainty, and the remaining smaller establishments were sampled with probability proportional to annualized payroll.
For 1993, each sampled establishment reported on a sample of individual shipments during a 2 week period in each calendar quarter. In addition, about 20,000 establishments will provide information on transportation facilities and arrangements in their final reporting period.
For further information about survey design and printed products, contact the Commodity Flow Survey Branch, Services Division, Bureau of the Census, Washington, DC 20233, or by calling 301/457-2805 or 2114. For information on related data programs and studies, contact the Bureau of Transportation Statistics at 202/366-DATA for voice, 202/366-3640 for fax, or CFS@BTS.GOV for e-mail.