Rail freight in the U.S. - volume transported 2002-2018

Rail freight volumes in the United States have been increasing since 2016, reaching 2.53 trillion tonne-kilometers in 2018. However, this figure sits below the recent peak of 2.7 trillion tonne-kilometers in 2014.

Rail Freight

Owing to its geographic and economic size, the United States has one of the world’s largest freight rail networks. The most common commodities carried by rail in the U.S. are coal, chemicals and grain. Rail freight is especially suited to transporting bulk commodities such as these owing to the higher volumes that can be transported together, and the existence of specialized carriages, such as tank cars designed for transporting chemicals.

Trucking in the United States

Rail is only one segment of the U.S. freight industry, with trucking accounting for the vast majority of freight transported in the United States. While freight trucking also experienced a decline from the middle of the decade, revenue streams have since recovered to create a market worth almost 800 billion U.S. dollars. In total, there were over 880,000 heavy truck drivers in the U.S. in 2018.

Volume of rail freight transported in the United States from 2002 to 2018

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Source

Release date

2019

Region

United States

Survey time period

2002 to 2018

Supplementary notes

The 2012 figure is taken from a previous edition.
The figures for 2002 through 2011 are taken from the Worldwide Rail Market Study (page 6), published by Roland Berger and UNIFE in September 2012.
The figures have been rounded.

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