Trucking accounts for 70% of freight tonnage in latest Commodity Flow Survey

Final estimates from the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) that was recently released by the Department of Transportation's Research and Innovative Technology Administration Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and the Department of Commerce's Census Bureau, show that the nation's freight transportation system transported 12.5 billion tons of raw material and finished goods, valued at $11.7 trillion, accounting for nearly 3.3 trillion ton-miles during 2007.

Trucking was the most dominant mode of transportation accounting for 71% of the value, 70% of the tonnage, and 40% of the ton-miles of the nation's total freight shipment, according to the 2007 CFS.

Shipments by rail accounted for over 1.9 billion tons of goods, and 15% of the total 2007 CFS tonnage, valued at nearly $436.4 billion. The rail mode was used to move goods about 1.3 trillion ton-miles totaling 40% of all ton-miles. Water shipments of freight totaled about $115 billion in goods, 404 million tons, and nearly 157 billion ton-miles.

In terms of commodities, electronics and electrical and office equipment were the top categories of commodity measured by shipment value totaling $1 trillion worth of goods. Gravel and crushed stone were the top commodities by weight at 2 billion tons. Coal was the top commodity by ton-miles in 2007 accounting for 836 billion ton-miles.

For the first time in the Commodity Flow Survey series, the 2007 data tables now depict goods movement by industry. Shipments by manufacturing industries amounted to $5.2 trillion or 45% of the total value of goods and 4.8 billion tons or 35% of all tonnage. Wholesale industries accounted for 41% of the total value, $4.7 trillion, and 29% of the total weight, and nearly 3.6 billion tons.

The Commodity Flow Survey, conducted as a partnership between the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the 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 modal picture of national freight flows and represents the only publicly available source of commodity flow data for the highway mode. The CFS was conducted in 1993, 1997, 2002, and most recently in 2007.

2007 CFS final data tables along with survey documentation and methodology can be found at the BTS website at http://www.bts.gov/publications/commodity_flow_survey/. Data are also available on the Census Bureau's American Fact Finder website at http://factfinder.census.gov/.

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