The Geography of U.S. Freight Shipments 36

The Geography of U.S. Freight Shipments 36

Several factors influence the distribution of shipments originating in or sent to specific states, including the size of a states population and economy, its resources, and geographic spread. The 2002 CFS provides data that allow analysis of the geography of freight flows at the state, interstate, and metropolitan area levels. The CFS origin and destination picture presented here will differ from the picture that will arise if we had origin and destination data from the non-CFS portion of the composite data.

Origins and Destinations by State and Metro Areas

In 2002, more than one-quarter (29 percent) of CFS shipments by value originated in states with large manufacturing sectors and populationsCalifornia, Texas, Ohio, and Illinois (figure 13 map). These four large states were also the destination for nearly one-third of shipments by value. The amount of freight shipped to and from these states stems in part from their large domestic markets and their importance to manufacturing and assembling parts produced in other states. Also these states have major freight gateways and border crossing ports or have large intermodal terminals (e.g., Chicago in Illinois). Therefore a good proportion of the freight destined for these states involves international trade. Table 18 shows the value and weight of both outbound and inbound freight shipments by state in 2002. Key highlights on state origins and destinations include:

Originations

  • By value, the leading state of origin for CFS shipments was California with 11 percent ($924 billion) of the value of total CFS shipments, followed by Texas with 7 percent of the value. Other leading states of origin by value include Ohio and Illinois.
  • Four states had over $440 billion each of outbound freight shipments (California, Texas, Ohio, and Illinois). Together these four states accounted for 29 percent of the value of CFS shipments.
  • By weight, the leading states of origin for outbound shipments include Texas, California, and Illinois with over 700 million tons each.

Destinations

  • By value, the leading state of destination for inbound CFS shipments was California, with over $890 billion destined for the state. California was followed by Texas with $719 billion. Other leading states for inbound shipments include Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and New York.
  • Seven states had over $370 billion each of inbound freight shipments (California, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and New York). Together these states accounted for 43 percent of the value of CFS shipments.
  • By weight, the leading state of destination for inbound freight was Texas with 10 percent of the national total. California was next with 8 percent of shipments destined to locations in the state.

By Mode

  • Nationally, trucks carried 74 percent or $6.2 trillion of the total value of CFS shipments. In 25 states, truck transportation handled at least 74 percent of the value of the total shipments originating in each of these states. California was both the origin as well as the destination for the largest amount of truck freight shipments by value, with $626 billion (outbound) and $618 billion (inbound).
  • Nationally, trucks hauled 67 percent or 7.8 billion tons of the total weight of CFS shipments. In 37 states, trucks transported at least 67 percent of the tonnage of the total shipments originating in each of these states. Once again, California was both the origin as well as the destination for the largest amount of truck freight shipments by weight, with 768 million tons (outbound) and 782 million tons (inbound).
  • For rail, Wyoming, which ships large volumes of coal, was the leading state for outbound shipments with 330 million tons. Texas was the top state for inbound rail shipments by weight with over 231 million tons of freight destined there in 2002.

Metropolitan Areas 37

  • In 2002, the largest 64 metropolitan areas (MAs) where statistically reliable estimates could be made accounted for 61 percent of the CFS shipments by value and 45 percent by weight. Over 5 billion tons of freight valued at $5 trillion originated in the largest MAs.38
  • By value, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside metro area was the lead for outbound shipments originating in MAs. Over $504 billion of freight went out of this metro region in 2002. Shipments from MAs are widely dispersed through the nation to other metro regions as illustrated by figure 14 [map], which shows shipments from the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside MA. Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City metro area (Illinois part) was second with about $305 billion of outbound freight.
  • By weight, three metropolitan areas led in outbound freight shipments. These top MAs, in no rank order, were Houston-Baytown-Huntsville, Texas (462 million tons); Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City metro area (Illinois part) (399 million tons); and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside metro area (384 million tons).

Interstate Freight Movements

The U.S. freight transportation network is a national system, involving heavy interstate activity, as shown in the 2002 CFS data.

  • Nationally, nearly 60 percent of the value of CFS freight shipments by all modes, worth $4.9 trillion, crossed state lines in interstate commerce. By weight 34 percent of the shipments, over 4 billion tons, was interstate (table 19).
  • Interstates share of shipments varies by state, commodity, and mode. In 42 states, out-of-state shipments accounted for more than 50 percent of the value of the states outbound shipments. Only in eight states did interstate shipments account for less than 50 percent of the value of their outbound shipments. These include large states with major cities that are widely separated, such as California and Texas; states in the corners of the country, such as Florida and Washington State; and Alaska and Hawaii which are not contiguous with the other 48 states (figure 15 map).
  • By weight, interstate shipments accounted for over half the shipments in 8 states, including Wyoming where nearly 87 percent of the tonnage originating in the state was interstate.

The 2002 CFS provides a measure of the relative share of states products moved by mode and the proportion shipped to out-of-state markets by that mode. For example, nationally, truck shipments accounted for at least half of the value of goods movement in all but two statesLouisiana and Wyoming (table 20). Twenty-one states depend on highways to transport more than three-quarters of the value of their states products. Among states with large manufacturing activity that depend heavily on truck shipments, Texas, California, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania relied on trucking to transport between 60 percent and 80 percent of the value of their freight.

Nationwide, interstate freight shipments accounted for over half (56 percent) of the value and 25 percent of the weight of goods transported by truck in the CFS. This suggests that individual state economies rely on other states highway networks and the national highway systems to transport nearly 2 billion tons of goods to their ultimate destinations. In the CFS data, interstate shipments accounted for over 50 percent of the value of truck shipments in 36 states (table 21).