Trucking Reigns As Nation's Top Mode of Freight Transport

by Jana Ritter - Published: 5/12/2014

According to American Trucking Associations report issued May 12th, trucking remains the dominant U.S. mode of freight transportation, hauling 69.1% of freight last year totaling 9.7 billion tons. To conceive this amount of all of the loads trucks delivered in 2013, the chain would stretch from the Earth to the moon more than 11 times.

4 trucks

ATA President Bill Graves said this report “American Trucking Trends” once again confirms what a critical role trucking plays in the U.S. economy. “Trucking continues to move the most, and most valuable, freight in the United States despite the challenges of congestion, regulations and crumbling infrastructure”, he said.

Key findings of the report include:

• Trucks move the majority of all North American Free Trade Agreement freight, hauling 55.4% of trade with Canada and 65.4% of with Mexico.

• Trucking employed more than 7 million people in 2013.

• The trucking industry paid $37.8 billion in state and federal highway user fees last year

• Since 2003, truck engines have gotten cleaner with an 88% drop in sulfur dioxide emissions, a 48% decline in nitrogen oxide emissions and a 32% drop in particulate matter.

• It takes trucking nine days to move as many loads as move via rail intermodal in all of 2013.

These and many other facts, are in the just released new edition of the American Trucking Association's American Trucking Trends, the annual almanac of trucking and freight transportation, confirming the industry's role as the primary mover of freight in the United States, according to the group.

“It is fitting this report is being released at the start of Infrastructure Week,” Graves added. “Our industry’s growth in the face of continued road and bridge deterioration has been amazing, but it is time for our elected leaders to do their part to ensure that the highways we use to move America’s goods safely and efficiently are in good condition.”

Infrastructure Week brings together various business groups and organized labor to explore emerging solutions, innovative approaches and best practices being developed nationwide to modernize aging infrastructure. It comes as Congress is working on authorizing a new surface transportation funding bill.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello also stressed the importance of the report “as an annual almanac, a snapshot, of what the trucking industry, and really what the freight economy, looks like". “These numbers tell us what is happening in trucking, and that’s important for industry leaders, suppliers and policymakers”, Costello said