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Nationwide shipment of goods reaches $13.8 trillion

Staff writer |
The total value of U.S. shipments reached $13.8 trillion in 2012, an increase of $2.2 trillion since the previous Commodity Flow Survey was conducted in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

While the total value increased 18.5 percent over that five-year span, the nationwide shipment of goods declined by 1.2 billion tons to 11.3 billion tons or about 9.9 percent.

For the first time, the 2012 Commodity Flow Survey included information on temperature- controlled shipments. Mixed-freight items that include food for grocery and convenience stores as well as supplies for restaurants and food chains accounted for 187.7 million tons of temperature-controlled shipments valued at $529.3 billion.

The Commodity Flow Survey is conducted every five years as part of the Census Bureau's economic census.

The survey, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, is the primary source of national, state and selected metropolitan areas statistics on domestic freight shipments. It provides information on the origin and destination, value, weight, mode of transportation, distance and ton-miles of commodities shipped.

"The Commodity Flow Survey provides business owners, private researchers and analysts with statistics for analyzing trends in the movement of goods, mapping spatial patterns of commodity and vehicle flows, forecasting demands for the movement of goods, and determining needs for associated infrastructure and equipment," said Kimberly Moore, chief of the Economic Reimbursable Surveys Division.

The Commodity Flow Survey provides estimates for the nation, 50 states and the District of Columbia, and selected metropolitan areas.

The South region shipped $5.4 trillion, or 42 percent, of U.S. shipments of goods in 2012. The Midwest followed with $3.7 trillion in shipments value.

Manufacturing establishments shipped 4.2 billion tons of commodities worth $5.7 trillion in 2012. Wholesale establishments shipped 3.8 billion tons of commodities worth $6.1 trillion.

Trucks hauled approximately 73.1 percent, or $10.1 trillion, of the total value of commodities shipped in 2012. These shipments accounted for 71.3 percent, or 8.1 billion tons, of the total tonnage.

An estimated 55.9 percent of all tonnage traveled less than 50 miles in 2012.

For-hire truck shipments, freight carried by truck for a fee, traveled an average of 508 miles, while private truck shipments averaged 58 miles. Hazardous material shipments accounted for more than $2.3 trillion and weighed more than 2.6 billion tons.

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