USDOT, RITA, BTS
In 2008, U.S. freight gateways handled more than $3.4 trillion (in current dollars) of international merchandise trade. From 2007 to 2008, merchandise exports rose 12 percent, and imports rose 7 percent. Since 1990, the leading U.S. freight gateways have handled increasing volumes of freight as the movement of traded goods to and from the United States has expanded.
From 1990 to 2008, the value of U.S. international merchandise trade grew from $889 billion to $3.4 trillion, increasing at an average annual rate of 8 percent. In infl ation-adjusted terms (using chained 2000 dollars), this trade grew about 7 percent per year, from $837 billion to more than $2.6 trillion. During this period, the growth in merchandise trade spurred the development of marine, air-cargo, and border-crossing facilities to connect domestic U.S. origins and destinations to markets abroad.