Domestic Waterborne Ton-Miles (annual data, not seasonally adjusted)

Domestic Waterborne Ton-Miles (annual data, not seasonally adjusted). If you are a user with a disability and cannot view this image, please call 800-853-1351 or email for further assistance.

Domestic waterborne ton-miles show the level of freight flows through U.S. inland, coastal, and Great Lakes waterways. Domestic waterborne ton-miles in the coastwise trade have declined in recent years.

Petroleum and petroleum products, crude materials, and coal comprise most of the cargo moving in U.S. domestic waterborne trade.

U.S. Domestic Waterborne Freight (billion short ton-miles)    1998       1999   
Internal  294.9  304.7
Internal freight percent change from previous year   0.31   3.32
Coastwise  314.9  292.7
Coastwise freight percent change from previous year  -9.98  -7.05
Lakewise   61.7   57.0
Lakewise freight percent change from previous year  -0.80  -7.62

NOTES: Data excludes traffic between ports in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Coastwise-Domestic traffic receiving a carriage over the ocean, or the Gulf of Mexico, (e.g. New Orleans to Baltimore, New York to Puerto Rico, San Francisco to Hawaii, Alaska to Hawaii). Traffic between Great Lakes ports and seacoast ports, when having a carriage over the ocean, is also termed Coastwise.

Lakewise-Waterborne traffic between the United States ports on the Great Lakes System. The Great Lakes System is treated as a separate waterway system rather than as a part of the inland waterway system. From 1990 on, marine products, sand and gravel being moved from the Great Lakes to Great Lake destinations are classified as lakewise traffic.

Internal-Vessel movements (origin and destination) which take place solely on inland waterways. An inland waterway is one geographically located within the boundaries of the contiguous 48 states or within the boundaries of the State of Alaska.

The term internal traffic is also applied to these vessel movements: those which involve carriage on both inland waterways and the Great Lakes; those occurring between offshore areas and inland waterways (e.g., oil rig supplies and fish); and those taking place within the Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound, and the San Francisco Bay, which are considered internal bodies of water rather than arms of the ocean.

SOURCE: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterborne Commerce of the U.S. (New Orleans, LA: Annual issues), Part 5, National Summaries, table 1-4, and similar tables in earlier editions, available at