Who’s Hauling the Nation’s Freight? How Much will It Grow in the Next 30 Years?

A new report from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics projects freight tons moving on the nation’s transportation network will grow 40 percent in the next three decades while the value of the freight will nearly double, increasing by 92 percent.

The government expects that by 2045, total freight on all modes of transportation including air, vessel, pipeline, rail and trucks will reach 25 billion tons while the value is expected to grow to $37 trillion.

The current estimates show that in 2015, nearly 18.1 billion tons of goods worth about $19.2 trillion were moved on the country’s transportation network. That means, 49 million tons of goods valued at more than $53 billion are shipped on a daily basis in the U.S.

But the projections from the BTS indicate the tonnage will increase reaching 69 million tons a day by 2045 and the growth in value will outpace growth in tonnage, reaching $101 billion a day or $37 trillion total by 2045.

Energy commodities were 38 percent of the total tonnage last year and they are projected to decline to a 31 percent share by 2045. The drop will be mostly due to increases for other goods. Tonnage for energy goods is projected to increase 14 percent by 2045 while non-energy goods will increase by 56 percent.

Trucks are used the most in moving freight across the country, moving 64 percent of tonnage in 2015 and 69 percent of the value. The government expects tonnage for trucking to grow 44 percent by 2045 and the value will grow 84 percent.


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