TABLE 2 Selected Freight Flow Data Programs of Nationwide Scope

TABLE 2 Selected Freight Flow Data Programs of Nationwide Scope

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Program/agency Modes Shipment variables covered Limitations Data-collection frequency Data-collection methodology
Commodity Flow Survey          
Bureau of Transportation Statistics—(BTS)—in conjunction with the U.S. Census Bureau All (including intermodal) Kind of commodity and its value, weight, true origin and destination (if domestic) Only domestic shippers surveyed; most retail, all government, and some other establishments (e.g., farms, logging) are not surveyed; most imports not covered; crude petroleum pipeline shipments not covered Every 5 years as part of the economic census; previous data-collection years were 1993, 1997, and 2002 Survey of domestic shippers

Sample size: 200,000 in 1993, 100,000 in 1997, and 50,000 in 2002
Railcar Waybill Sample          
Surface Transportation Board Rail Commodity and its weight and rail line system origin and destination Does not reveal true origin and destination of most shipments; export traffic only picked up if rebilled at border; does not provide shipment value data Annual Stratified sample of rail waybill

Sample rate varies from 2.5% to 50% depending on shipment size
Waterborne Commerce Data          
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Maritime Commodity; shipment weight; origin, destination, and routing of waterborne portion of shipment

Includes domestic and foreign shipments
Value data not collected for domestic shipments Data collection continuous; some data released monthly for inland waterways; most other data issued annually Census of companies and vessels operating in U.S. waterborne trade, both domestic and foreign
Air carrier freight data          
BTS Air Freight weight enplaned by each carrier at each airport; weight of freight carried over airport-to-airport segments; available ton-miles of capacity; revenue ton-miles flown by each carrier

Covers domestic, transborder, and foreign flights of U.S. carriers.
Does not identify the commodity shipped, its value, or true origin and destination; air origin and destination points may not be identified if cargo is interchanged at an airport; very small carriers, such as air taxi, not covered

Does not cover flights of foreign carriers
Monthly U.S. air carriers file monthly reports with BTS
U.S. foreign trade data: transport of freight into and out of the United States          
U.S. Customs, U.S. Census Bureau, BTS, Canadian and Mexican agencies Truck, rail, pipeline, government mail, and certain other modes involved in trade between the United States and Canada, and the United States and Mexico For surface modes, shipment weight (imports only), its value and commodity classification, mode of transportation when crossing border, port of entry or exit, freight charges, and whether shipment is containerized

Data specify state or province of origin and destination
Transportation data derived from U.S. foreign trade data currently provide only limited information on air and water modes, even with Canada and Mexico, and do not identify intermodal combinations used in shipping cargo from its origin to its destination. Data on transportation of exports to other countries are collected, but limited in availability. Some trade records may be filed by intermediaries (e.g., a freight forwarder) that may list an administrative office located in a place other than the point of entry or exit, and can result in misreporting of the origin or destination of a shipment. Monthly Data derived from official U.S. international merchandise import and export trade documents and extracted from records filed with administering agencies

An increasing number of these records are filed electronically