5-6 Weight of U.S. International Merchandise Trade by Mode of Transportation: 2008

5-6 Weight of U.S. International Merchandise Trade by Mode of Transportation: 2008

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(Thousands of short tons)

  Exports Modal % Imports Modal % Total trade Total modal %
Total 705,093 100.0 1,256,610 100.0 1,961,703 100.0
Water a 535,527 76.0 983,145 78.2 1,518,672 77.4
Air 3,686 0.5 4,226 0.3 7,912 0.4
Truckb 93,717 13.3 88,474 7.0 182,191 9.3
Railb 62,454 8.9 85,049 6.8 147,503 7.5
Pipelineb 3,600 0.5 94,991 7.6 98,591 5.0
Other, unknown, & miscellaneousb 6,109 0.9 724 0.1 6,833 0.3

a The weight data for water transportation vary from those officially reported by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, because the data in this table exclude intransit shipments (merchandise shipped from one foreign country to another via a U.S. port but not part of U.S. official merchandise trade). BTS uses U.S. Census Bureau trade-based data to allow for a complete modal comparison among the different freight transportation modes. b The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) estimated the weight of exports for truck, rail, pipeline, mail and other and unknown modes based on the import weight-to-value ratios that vary by country, mode, and commodity. The import weight-to-value ratios at the six, four, and two-digit HS code commodity detail are applied. Since the weight-to-value ratio of a given commodity drastically change from one year to another, BTS removed the irregular components (outliers) of the import ratios to produce a consistent and reliable export weight estimates.

Notes: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. Excludes intransit data (merchandise shipped from one foreign country to another via a U.S. port). Imports-Excludes imports valued at less than $1,250. Import value is based on U.S. general imports, customs value basis. Exports-Excludes exports valued at less than $2,500. Export value is FAS (free alongside ship) and represents the value of exports at the port of export, including the transaction price and inland freight, insurance, and other charges.

Sources: Water and air-U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Division, FT920 U.S. Merchandise Trade: Selected Highlights (December Issues), available at http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/Press-Release/ft920_index.html as of September 2009. Truck, rail, pipeline and other, unknown, and miscellaneous-U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data; and special calculation, August 2009.