Supply Chain News Bites - Only from SCDigest

- March 11, 2015 -


Supply Chain Graphic of the Week: Growing US Congestion Problems


Pictures Tell the Story of Continued Rise of Truck, Rail Volumes - Capacity Simply Not Keeping Up


By SCDigest Editorial Staff



You would almost have to be living under a rock - and certainly not doing much driving through large metro areas - to be unaware of the growing problem with congestion in many parts of the US. There continues to be a lot of reporting and handwringing over this issue and related calls for much investment in improving US infrastructure.

At a recent CSCMP roundtable meeting in Toronto, where SCDigest editor Dan Gilmore also presented, well-known consultant George Stalk of Boston Consulting Group covered what he sees as key issues for the supply chain over the next few years, one of which he says will be the impact of growing congestion.


Stalk's included a number of graphics to help tell the story, a few of which we repeat here, starting with truck volumes across the US by different lanes circa 1998:


US Average Annual Daily Truck Traffic 1998




Now compare that to projections from a few years ago for the situation by 2020 - just 5 years away:


Projected US Average Annual Daily Truck Traffic 2020



As can be seen, the number of thick red lines, especially it seems to us the number indicating a rise to 25,000 to 49,000 vehicles per day, jumps dramatically. Add in big growth in miles driven in automobiles, and the picture isn't good. The road and highway infrastructure is not even close to keeping pace with this growth - it is in fact struggling to maintain the staus quo.


Basically a similar story for rail can be seen, as shown in the graphic below:


Actual and Projected Railcar Traffic 1999 versus 2020



It's hard to see the legends on these charts, but suffice it to say the projected growth will be in the millions of carloads annually, and while rail carrriers are in fact spending a lot of money (about 17% of revenues) on capital investments, again the it will not be enough to keep up with the volume growth.


It's a pretty sobering picture - and will certainly lead to increase logistics costs maybe substantially.


More on all this soon.


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