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2012 Commodity Flow Survey Final Estimates

Press Release Number: 
BTS 56-14
Date: 
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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Final estimates from the 2012 Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau, show that the nation’s manufacturing and wholesale establishments, mines, and mail-order houses shipped 11.3 billion tons of raw material and finished goods, valued at $13.9 trillion, and accounting for nearly 3.0 trillion ton-miles during 2012 (Table 1).  These numbers are an approximate 18.5 percent increase in value (unadjusted for inflation), and decreases of about 9.9 percent for tonnage and 11.2 percent for ton-miles during the five years since the previous survey in 2007.

Trucking continues to be the most dominant mode of transportation for these shippers accounting for 73.1 percent of the value and 71.3 percent of the tonnage of their cargo, according to the 2012 CFS.  Shipments by truck accounted for 8.1 billion tons of goods valued at about $10.1 trillion. The trucking mode was used to move goods about 1.2 trillion ton-miles.

In terms of ton-miles, trucking and rail are the leading modes at 42.0 percent and 40.8 percent, respectively.

Shipments by rail accounted for 1.6 billion tons of goods, 14.4 percent of the total 2012 CFS tonnage, valued at about $473.0 billion. The rail mode was used to move goods about 1.2 trillion ton-miles.      

Water shipments of freight totaled about $301.6 billion in goods, almost 576.0 million tons, and nearly 192.9 billion ton-miles.

In terms of commodities, the 2012 CFS results indicate the category of mixed freight, multiple commodities such as supplies, including food, for grocery stores and restaurants, hardware or plumbing supplies, and office supplies, contributed the highest value at $1.4 trillion, followed by gasoline, aviation turbine fuel, and ethanol at $1.2 trillion. Gravel and crushed stone was the top commodity by weight at 1.5 billion tons. Coal was the top commodity by ton-miles in 2012 accounting for 663.7 billion ton-miles (Table 2).

By industry, the CFS shows that manufacturing industries contributed the most overall tonnage of goods shipped in 2012.  This industry sector accounted for 4.2 billion tons, or 36.8 percent of all tonnage, and amounted to $5.7 trillion or 41.0 percent of the total value. Wholesale industries led by overall value and accounted for 44.2 percent of the total value at $6.1 trillion, and 33.5 percent of the total weight, with 3.8 billion tons (Table 3).

The CFS, conducted as a partnership BTS and the U.S. Census Bureau, is the primary source of national and state-level data on domestic freight shipments in the United States.  The CFS measures domestic freight shipments by American establishments in mining, manufacturing, wholesale, auxiliaries, and selected retail industries.  Data are provided on the types, origins and destinations, values, weights, modes of transport, distance shipped, and ton-miles of commodities shipped.  The CFS is a shipper-based survey and is conducted every five years as part of the Economic Census.  It provides a multi-modal picture of national freight flows and represents the only publicly available source of commodity flow data for the highway mode.  The 2012 CFS is the fifth in a series and was previously conducted in 1993, 1997, 2002, and 2007.

The 2012 CFS is published for 132 CFS areas (e.g., large metropolitan areas, other major freight gateways, the remainder of state components and, in some cases, entire states).  This represents an expansion from 123 geographic areas in the 2007 CFS.  Also new for the 2012 CFS, the survey collected additional information to determine whether shipments were temperature-controlled and or shipped via an expedited service. Additionally, for the first time in the CFS series the 2012 CFS data tables will be complemented with a public use microdata file that is scheduled for release by the end of June 2015.

2012 CFS final data tables along with survey documentation and methodology can be found at the Census Bureau’s American Fact Finder.

 

Table 1. Shipment Characteristics by Mode of Transportation for the United States: 2012

[Estimates are based on data from the 2012 Commodity Flow Survey. Because of rounding, estimates may not be additive.]

Mode of transportation Value Tons Ton-miles Average miles per shipment
2012
(million dollars)
Percent of total 2012 (thousands) Percent of total 2012 (millions) Percent of total
All modes 13,852,143 100.0 11,299,409 100.0 2,969,506 100.0 630
Single modes 11,900,364 85.9 10,905,518 96.5 2,697,418 90.8 262
Truck 10,132,229 73.1 8,060,166 71.3 1,247,717 42.0 227
For-hire truck 6,504,636 47.0 4,298,693 38.0 1,050,942 35.4 508
Private truck 3,627,592 26.2 3,761,472 33.3 196,775 6.6 58
Rail 473,070 3.4 1,628,537 14.4 1,211,481 40.8 805
Water 301,554 2.2 575,996 5.1 192,866 6.5 908
Inland water 218,927 1.6 424,542 3.8 118,742 4.0 275
Great lakes 424 Z 31,403 0.3 10,959 0.4 347
Deep sea 59,878 0.4 72,987 0.6 22,130 0.7 1,157
Multiple waterways 22,325 0.2 47,064 0.4 41,035 1.4 1,034
Air (includes truck and air) 450,575 3.3 4,845 Z 5,810 0.2 1,295
Pipeline 542,936 3.9 635,975 5.6 S S S
Multiple modes 1,950,753 14.1 357,047 3.2 271,832 9.2 922
Parcel, U.S. Postal Service, or courier 1,688,242 12.2 28,490 0.3 22,716 0.8 922
Truck and rail 224,833 1.6 213,814 1.9 169,524 5.7 988
Truck and water 29,035 0.2 56,720 0.5 48,568 1.6 1,562
Rail and water 7,976 0.1 55,570 0.5 29,170 1.0 1,073
Other multiple modes 668 Z 2,452 Z 1,853 0.1 S
Other modes 1,026 Z 36,844 0.3 256 Z S

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Commodity Flow Survey, Final Estimates, December 2014.

Z- Rounds to Zero.

S- Withheld because estimate did not meet publication standards.

Note: Value-of-shipments estimates have not been adjusted for price changes.

 

Table 2. Shipment Characteristics by Two-Digit Commodity for the United States: 2012

[Estimates are based on data from the 2012 Commodity Flow Survey. Because of rounding, estimates may not be additive.]

SCTG code Commodity description Value Tons Ton-miles Average
miles per
shipment
2012
(million dollars)
Percent of total 2012
(thousands)
Percent of total 2012
(millions)
Percent of total
  All Commodities 13,852,143 100.0 11,299,409 100.0 2,969,506 100.0 630
01 Live animals and live fish 6,390 Z 2,237 Z 1,475 Z 565
02 Cereal grains (includes seed) 130,140 0.9 479,064 4.2 184,888 6.2 202
03 Agricultural products (excludes animal feed, cereal grains, and forage products) 197,793 1.4 218,995 1.9 107,383 3.6 505
04 Animal feed, eggs, honey, and other products of animal origin 118,666 0.9 238,507 2.1 59,660 2.0 706
05 Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, and their preparations 302,153 2.2 90,090 0.8 43,798 1.5 184
06 Milled grain products and preparations and bakery products 151,799 1.1 115,109 1.0 53,947 1.8 169
07-R Other prepared foodstuffs and fats and oils (CF10) 584,496 4.2 527,393 4.7 201,438 6.8 450
08-R Alcoholic beverages, and Denatured Alcohol (CF20) 178,011 1.3 99,255 0.9 35,176 1.2 81
09 Tobacco products 67,395 0.5 2,919 Z 650 Z 830
10 Monumental or building stone 4,221 Z 11,366 0.1 1,605 0.1 135
11 Natural sands 7,806 0.1 438,136 3.9 38,847 1.3 51
12 Gravel and crushed sone (excludes dolomite and slate) 17,519 0.1 1,538,494 13.6 82,244 2.8 30
13 Other nonmetallic minerals, nec 13,646 0.1 144,500 1.3 35,384 1.2 253
14 Metallic ores and concentrates 29,072 0.2 94,801 0.8 48,181 1.6 397
15 Coal 41,178 0.3 1,047,934 9.3 663,676 22.3 87
17-R Gasoline, aviation turbine fuel, and ethanol (includes kerosene, and fuel alcohols) (CF30) 1,158,935 8.4 1,244,059 11.0 97,395 3.3 46
18-R Fuel oils (includes diesel, bunker c, and biodiesel) (CF40) 706,535 5.1 843,282 7.5 59,341 2.0 31
19 Other coal and petroleum products, nec 388,085 2.8 528,059 4.7 99,564 3.4 98
20 Basic chemicals 316,754 2.3 342,969 3.0 143,230 4.8 662
21 Pharmaceutical products 814,703 5.9 16,197 0.1 7,798 0.3 656
22 Fertilizers 84,213 0.6 193,918 1.7 61,745 2.1 142
23 Chemical products and preparations, nec 351,146 2.5 105,660 0.9 46,991 1.6 667
24 Plastics and rubber 549,130 4.0 182,918 1.6 100,600 3.4 696
25 Logs and other wood in the rough 4,527 Z 35,123 0.3 3,878 0.1 184
26 Wood products 144,134 1.0 297,429 2.6 82,275 2.8 299
27 Pulp, newsprint, paper, and paperboard 123,892 0.9 123,300 1.1 69,122 2.3 261
28 Paper or paperboard articles 126,268 0.9 76,530 0.7 26,687 0.9 634
29 Printed products 159,583 1.2 38,800 0.3 14,890 0.5 506
30 Textiles, leather, and articles of textiles or leather 465,777 3.4 39,849 0.4 25,485 0.9 1,064
31 Nonmetallic mineral products 180,504 1.3 793,046 7.0 93,581 3.2 414
32 Base metal in primary or semifinished forms and in finished basic shapes 457,280 3.3 304,658 2.7 109,923 3.7 320
33 Articles of base metal 352,135 2.5 100,754 0.9 41,985 1.4 530
34 Machinery 753,095 5.4 74,650 0.7 36,968 1.2 438
35 Electronic and other electrical equipment and components and office equipment 1,031,944 7.4 46,212 0.4 28,362 1.0 838
36 Motorized and other vehicles (including parts) 1,038,341 7.5 130,069 1.2 64,758 2.2 479
37 Transportation equipment, nec 280,391 2.0 7,514 0.1 4,342 0.1 844
38 Precision instruments and apparatus 351,894 2.5 7,306 0.1 5,324 0.2 954
39 Furniture, mattresses and mattress supports, lamps, lighting fittings, and illuminated signs 160,790 1.2 27,573 0.2 13,621 0.5 837
40 Miscellaneous manufactured products 517,067 3.7 74,128 0.7 31,204 1.1 1,042
41 Waste and scrap 107,002 0.8 241,232 2.1 66,654 2.2 183
43 Mixed freight 1,377,371 9.9 374,071 3.3 75,269 2.5 413
99 Commodity unknown 360 Z 1,303 Z 162 Z 112

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 Economic Census: Transportation Commodity Flow Survey, Final Estimates, December 2014.

 

Table 3. Shipment Characteristics by Industry for the United States: 2012

[Estimates are based on data from the 2012 Commodity Flow Survey. Because of rounding, estimates may not be additive.]

NAICS code NAICS title Value (million dollars) Tons (thousands) Ton-miles (millions) Average miles per shipment
  Total 13,852,143 11,299,409 2,969,506 630
212 Mining (except oil and gas) 99,888 2,900,863 859,267 47
31-33 Manufacturing 5,679,313 4,155,850 1,279,523 713
311 Food manufacturing 744,573 545,892 261,169 239
312 Beverage and tobacco product manufacturing 142,936 159,843 49,408 292
313 Textile mills 30,328 7,101 3,731 765
314 Textile product mills 21,595 5,096 2,313 918
315 Apparel manufacturing 12,462 515 402 1,169
316 Leather and allied product manufacturing 4,870 688 707 1,105
321 Wood product manufacturing 76,802 211,440 59,705 341
322 Paper manufacturing 180,585 156,327 83,270 532
323 Printing and related support activities 79,263 21,535 10,296 769
324 Petroleum and coal products manufacturing 835,321 1,222,084 165,106 216
325 Chemical manufacturing 785,839 609,778 313,078 887
326 Plastics and rubber products manufacturing 216,973 59,798 33,421 764
327 Nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing 98,603 707,054 73,594 180
331 Primary metal manufacturing 265,380 189,419 87,875 602
332 Fabricated metal product manufacturing 333,287 96,723 38,545 562
333 Machinery manufacturing 402,610 36,938 26,510 889
334 Computer and electronic product manufacturing 331,636 4,576 3,791 1,164
335 Electrical equipment, appliance, and component manufacturing 120,145 16,619 12,347 998
336 Transportation equipment manufacturing 782,011 80,977 38,028 806
337 Furniture and related product manufacturing 66,809 14,850 9,652 792
339 Miscellaneous manufacturing 147,284 8,599 6,571 1,003
42 Wholesale trade 6,119,269 3,780,403 723,220 413
423 Merchant wholesalers, durable goods 2,605,062 969,034 228,502 455
4231 Motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and supplies merchant wholesalers 540,855 66,571 31,340 381
4232 Furniture and home furnishing merchant wholesalers 66,139 16,524 9,024 672
4233 Lumber and other construction materials merchant wholesalers 114,200 329,887 31,865 87
4234 Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers 437,435 22,255 12,219 642
4235 Metal and mineral (except petroleum) merchant wholesalers 202,708 151,632 49,683 223
4236 Electrical and electronic goods merchant wholesalers 450,951 26,276 12,083 517
4237 Hardware, plumbing and heating equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers 125,401 18,443 5,011 257
4238 Machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers 433,454 64,434 14,655 323
4239 Miscellaneous durable goods merchant wholesalers 233,919 273,012 62,620 829
424 Merchant wholesalers, nondurable goods 3,514,207 2,811,368 494,718 321
4241 Paper and paper product merchant wholesalers 96,163 39,288 7,602 314
4242 Drugs and druggists' sundries merchant wholesalers 535,889 12,815 6,710 487
4243 Apparel, piece goods, and notions merchant wholesalers 121,916 9,535 8,015 997
4244 Grocery and related product merchant wholesalers 647,284 336,965 66,571 123
4245 Farm product raw material merchant wholesalers 239,194 642,820 260,458 265
4246 Chemical and allied products merchant wholesalers 153,656 104,935 22,535 223
4247 Petroleum and petroleum products merchant wholesalers 1,319,585 1,396,357 77,968 74
4248 Beer, wine, and distilled alcoholic beverage merchant wholesalers 120,471 55,359 2,973 43
4249 Miscellaneous nondurable goods merchant wholesalers 280,049 213,293 41,886 445
4541 Electronic shopping and mail-order houses 318,266 11,966 9,392 1,173
45431 Fuel dealers 35,694 36,034 734 19
4931 (CF1) Warehousing and storage (CF1) 1,207,896 294,522 60,458 748
5111 Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers 49,500 11,660 2,130 S
551114 Corporate, subsidiary, and regional managing offices 342,317 108,111 34,782 769

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 Economic Census: Transportation Commodity Flow Survey, Final Estimates, December 2014.

S- Withheld because estimate did not meet publication standards.

(CF1) For the 2012 and 2007 Commodity Flow Surveys, this industry group only includes captive (enterprise support) warehouses that provide storage and shipping support to other establishments of the same company. Warehouses offering their services to the general public and other businesses are excluded. For tabulation and publication purposes, NAICS Subsector 484 (Truck Transportation) is grouped with NAICS Industry Group 4931 (Warehousing and Storage).

Note: Value-of-shipments estimates have not been adjusted for price changes.