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statistical news from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics

statistical news from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics

BTS and Census Bureau Report that American Industry Shipped 13 Billion Tons of Goods in 2007

American industry shipped 13 billion tons of goods valued at almost $12 trillion in 2007, according to preliminary numbers from the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) released in December by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics in partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce's Census Bureau.

The preliminary CFS numbers show that trucks moved manufactured goods and raw materials in 2007 amounting to about 9 billion tons in shipments valued at $8.4 trillion. These totals represent more than two-thirds of the value and weight of freight shipped in the United States.

Preliminary numbers from the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey show that, when measured by weight, trucking and rail were the most used modes of freight transportation.
Preliminary numbers from the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey show that, when measured by weight, trucking and rail were the most used modes of freight transportation.

Based on ton-miles, a measure derived by multiplying weight by distance shipped, rail and trucking accounted for 37 and 40 percent, respectively, of freight being transported in 2007.

Multiple mode shipments using more than one type of transportation were second to trucking in shipment value, at $1.9 trillion for a 16 percent share, but carried only 627 million tons or 5 percent by weight. For shipments using multiple modes, parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier carried the most by value ($1.6 trillion) but truckrail combination carried the most weight (213 million tons).

The rail mode was the second most used mode by weight, carrying 1.9 billion tons of freight for a 15 percent share but only $388 billion or 3 percent of goods by value. When each individual mode's portion of multiple mode shipments is redistributed to components of individual modal shipments, rail generated the most ton-miles totaling almost 1.5 trillion.

Shipments totaling 7.1 billion tons, or more than half of the total weight of all shipments captured by the CFS, moved less than 50 miles, while shipments traveling less than 250 miles represented more than half the value recorded in the 2007 CFS.

Smaller shipments traveled longer distances on average. Shipments of less than 50 pounds traveled an average of 716 miles while shipments of 50 to 99 pounds traveled an average of 395 miles. More than 70 percent of total shipment value captured by the 2007 CFS is represented by shipments weighing over 1,000 pounds. More than 92 percent of the tons are represented by shipments of more than 10,000 pounds.

Estimates of shipment characteristics by industry are included in the CFS for the first time. The preliminary estimates show the manufacturing industry shipped 5.4 billion tons of commodities valued at $5.4 trillion and generated 1.5 trillion ton-miles in 2007, the largest contribution of any industry sector. The two commodities generating the most value in the 2007 CFS were electronic and office equipment and mixed freight. The commodity category with the most tonnage was gravel and crushed stone.

The CFS is the primary source of national and state-level data on domestic freight shipments by American establishments in mining, manufacturing, wholesale, auxiliaries, and selected retail industries. The CFS is a shipper-based survey and is conducted every 5 years as part of the Economic Census.

Final data will be available in December 2009.