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Contact:  Tom Edwards
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Nationwide Movement of Goods Reached 12.5 Billion Tons in 2007

     Total shipments of goods in the United States accounted for nearly $11.7 trillion in revenue and 12.5 billion tons in 2007, according to new data released jointly by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. That is up from $8.4 trillion and 11.7 billion tons in 2002.

     These figures come from the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey, [PDF] conducted every five years as part of the Census Bureau's 2007 Economic Census.

     “The Commodity Flow Survey gives us a comprehensive picture of the movement of goods throughout the entire country. Policy planners and decision makers use these figures to assess the demand for transportation facilities and services, to measure energy use, and to assess safety risk and environmental concerns,” said Mark Wallace, chief of the Census Bureau's Service Sector Statistics Division.

     The survey is undertaken as a partnership with the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation, and is the primary source of national- and state-level data on domestic freight shipments. It provides data on the origins and destinations, value, weights, modes of transport, distance and ton-miles of commodities shipped.

     Trucks were used to haul approximately 71 percent of the total value of commodities shipped in 2007, representing more than $8.3 trillion and 8.8 billion tons. An estimated $436.4 billion worth of commodities, or approximately 1.9 billion tons, were shipped by rail. Other modes of transportation included air, water and pipeline.

     An estimated 55 percent of all tonnage traveled less than 50 miles. On average, for-hire truck shipments — freight carried by truck for a fee — traveled 599 miles while private truck shipments — freight carried by a truck owned by the shipper — averaged 57 miles.

     Manufacturing establishments shipped 4.8 billion tons of commodities worth $5.2 trillion. Wholesale establishments accounted for an estimated $4.7 trillion of goods shipped, representing nearly 3.6 billion tons.

     Hazardous material shipments accounted for more than $1.4 trillion of the total accounted for in the survey. These shipments weighed more than 2.2 billion tons, of which more than half was transported by truck.

     The 2007 Commodity Flow Survey final data series includes Geographic Area Series with data provided for the nation, states and selected metropolitan areas.

The Commodity Flow Survey does not include establishments classified in forestry, fishing, utilities, construction, transportation, and most retail and services industries. Farms and government-owned entities (except government-owned liquor stores) were also excluded. Foreign-based businesses importing to the United States are also excluded from the survey sample; however, in theory, domestic portions of imported shipments can be captured in the survey once arriving at a U.S. based establishment (assuming it is an eligible shipping establishment included in the survey).

Estimates from the 2007 CFS are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. Sources of nonsampling error include errors of response, reporting and coverage. Measures of sampling variability are included with the estimates, and a description of these errors is available in the methodology text on American FactFinder.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | | Last Revised: September 09, 2014