Supply Chain News Bites - Only from SCDigest

- March 10, 2011 -


Supply Chain Graphic of the Week: US Freight Movements by Mode and Volume

A Visual Look at How Freight Flows across the Country; What's up with Wyoming?


By SCDigest Editorial Staff



For the second week in a row, we are featuring a graphic from the just released report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) that says that US transportation providers, especially truckers, aren't paying the real costs of providimg that service (See GAO Tells Congress Freight Carriers, especially Trucking, are not Paying True Costs of Moving Goods.)

Last week, our graphic of the week focused directly on the core issues of the report. (See Supply Chain Graphic of the Week: Are Shippers Getting Subsidy from US Citizens on "Social Costs" of Transportation?.)

This week, we include a graphic just meant to set the stage for the report's cost analysis, showing freight movement in the US by three major modes (trucking, rail and inland waterway) and the volumes in different lanes, which you will find below.

Perhaps nothing surprising, but interesting to see nonetheless.



Source: GAO Report


Blue represents inland waterway movement, orange class 1 rail carriage, and black trucks on the highway system. The thicknes of the lines represents the relative level of tonnage per year.

In total, according to the GAO report, freight volumes by these three modes in the US are as follows (using 2007 data, in millions of ton-miles):

  • Trucking: 2,040,000 million
  • Rail: 1,819,633
  • Waterways: 553,1511


So, there were about 2.04 million-million freight ton miles for trucking in 2007 - that's quite a bit of freight.

What, you may ask, is that thick orange line running from between about the Wyoming area to the Midwest? That's coal coming from Wyoming and Montana to areas of heavier population via rail.


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