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32. 1997 Economic Census

1330. Export Shipments, by Export Mode of Transportation, Country of Destination, and Major Commodity Group

[Based on the Commodity Flow Survey; for information on methodology, see below table]

Value Tons
Number Percent Number Percent
(mil. dol.) (1,000)
    Mode, total 577,802 100.0 526,233 100.0
Truck 111,942 19.4 57,838 11.0
  For-hire truck 99,783 17.3 41,798 7.9
  Private truck 12,159 2.1 16,040 3.0
Rail 22,878 4.0 36,849 7.0
Water 163,490 28.3 349,206 66.4
  Shallow draft vessel 4,909 0.8 20,925 4.0
  Deep draft vessel 158,581 27.4 328,281 62.4
Air (includes truck and air) 196,706 34.0 4,419 0.8
Pipeline (S) (S) (S) (S)
Parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier 17,550 3.0 2,033 0.4
Other and unknown 64,299 11.1 71,411 13.6
    Total 577,802 100.0 526,233 100.0
Canada 112,683 19.5 99,073 18.8
Mexico 54,272 9.4 36,869 7.0
All others 410,847 71.1 390,291 74.2
    All commodities 577,802 100.0 526,233 100.0
Agricultural products and fish 46,808 8.1 179,342 34.1
Grains, alcohol, and tobacco products 12,211 2.1 15,705 3.0
Stone, nonmetallic minerals, and
metallic ores 3,471 0.6 17,198 3.3
Coal and petroleum products 43,413 7.5 144,243 27.4
Pharmaceutical and chemical products 45,286 7.8 24,837 4.7
Wood products, and textiles and leather 42,560 7.4 78,684 15.0
Base metal and machinery 83,363 14.4 25,406 4.8
Electronics, motorized vehicles, and
precision instruments 260,327 45.1 13,454 2.6
Furniture and miscellaneous manu-
factured products 35,030 6.1 26,118 5.0
Commodity unknown 5,332 0.9 1,246 0.2

1 Based on the Standard Classification of Transported Goods (SCTG) coding system.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 1997 Economic Census, Commodity Flow Survey, Exports,Series EC97TCF-US(EXP).


The 1997 Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) is undertaken through a partnership between the Bureau of the Census, U.S.Department of Commerce, and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation. This surveyproduces data on the movement of goods in the United States. The data from the CFS are used by public policy analysts andfor transportation planning and decision-making to assess the demand for transportation facilities and services, energy use,and safety risk and environmental concerns.


The 1997 CFS covers business establishments in mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and selected retail industries. Thesurvey also covers selected auxiliary establishments (e.g., warehouses) of in-scope multiunit and retail companies. Thesurvey coverage excludes establishments classified as farms, forestry, fisheries, governments, construction, transportation,foreign establishments, services, and most establishments in retail.


The CFS captures data on shipments originating from selected types of business establishments located in the 50 states andthe District of Columbia. We requested that the respondent provide the following information about their establishmentsshipments: domestic destination or port of exit, commodity, value, weight, mode(s) of transportation, the date on which theshipment was made, and an indication of whether the shipment was an export, hazardous material, or containerized. Forshipments that include more than one commodity, respondents are instructed to report the commodity that makes up thegreatest percentage of the shipments weight. For exports, we also ask the respondent to provide the mode of export and theforeign destination city and country. For hazardous materials shipments, we ask for the correspsonding UN/NA code.


The survey was initiated for 1993. Beginning with 1997, the survey will be conducted every 5 years for years ending in "2"and "7." Commodity surveys were conducted between 1963 and 1983, but data for 1983 were not published. No data werecollected for 1987.


The 1997 CFS consists of a sample of 100,000 establishments chosen based on geographic location and industry. Eachestablishment selected into the CFS sample is mailed a questionnaire for each of its four reporting weeks. For the CFS '97each sampled establishment was asked to report on a sample of individual shipments during a one week period in eachcalendar quarter. In addition, about 20,000 establishments received a modified questionnaire for their final reportingperiod,requesting additional information on transportation facilities and equipment.


Products that an establishment produces,sells,or distributes.This does not include items that areconsidered as excess or byproducts of the establishment soperation.Respondents reported the description and thefive-digit SCTG code for the major commodity contained inthe shipment,defined as the commodity with the greatestweight in the total shipment.

Mode of transportationThe type of transportation used for moving the shipment to its domestic destination.For exports,the domestic destination was the port of exit.

Mode Definitions

In the instructions to the respondent,we defined thepossible modes as follows:

1.Parcel delivery/courier/U.S.Postal Service.Deliv-ery services,parcels,packages,and other small ship-ments that typically weigh less than 100 pounds.Includes bus parcel delivery service.

2.Private truck.Trucks operated by a temporary orpermanent employee of an establishment or thebuyer/receiver of the shipment.

3.For-hire truck.Trucks that carry freight for a fee col-lected from the shipper,recipient of the shipment,oran arranger of the transportation.

4.Railroad.Any common carrier or private railroad.

5.Shallow draft vessels.Barges,ships,or ferries oper-ating primarily on rivers and canals;in harbors,theGreat Lakes,the Saint Lawrence Seaway;the Intrac-oastal Waterway,the Inside Passage to Alaska,majorbays and inlets;or in the ocean close to the shoreline.

6.Deep draft vessel.Barges,ships,or ferries operat-ing primarily in the open ocean.Shipping on the GreatLakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway is classified withshallow draft vessels.

7.Pipeline.Movements of oil,petroleum,gas,slurry,etc.,through pipelines that extend to other establish-ments or locations beyond the shipper s establish-ment.Aqueducts for the movement of water are notincluded.

8.Air.Commercial or private aircraft,and all air servicefor shipments that typically weigh more than 100pounds.Includes air freight and air express.

9.Other mode.Any mode not listed above.

10.Unknown.The shipment was not carried by a parceldelivery/courier/U.S.Postal Service,and the respon-dent could not determine what mode of transportationwas used.


A shipment (or delivery)is an individual move-ment of commodities from an establishment to a customeror to another location of the originating company (includ-ing a warehouse,distribution center,retail or wholesaleoutlet).A shipment uses one or more modes of transporta-tion including parcel delivery,U.S.Postal Service,courier,private truck,for-hire truck,rail,water,pipeline,air,andother modes.

Standard Classification of Transported Goods (SCTG).

The commodities shown in this report are classi-fied using the SCTG coding system.The SCTG coding sys-tem was developed jointly by agencies of the UnitedStates and Canadian governments based on the Harmo-nized System to address statistical needs in regard toproducts transported.


The weight times the mileage for a shipment.The respondents reported shipment weight in pounds,asdescribed below.Mileage was calculated as the distancebetween the shipment origin and destination ZIP Codes.For shipments by truck,rail,or shallow draft vessels,themileage excludes international segments.For example,mileages from Alaska to the continental United Statesexclude any mileages through Canada (see the MileageCalculations section for more details).Aggregated pound-miles were converted to ton-miles.The ton-miles data aredisplayed in millions.

Ton shipped

The total weight of the entire shipment.Respondents reported the weight in pounds.Aggregatedpounds were converted to short-tons (2,000 pounds).Thetons data are displayed in thousands.

Value of shipments

The dollar value of the entire ship-ment.This was defined as the net selling value,f.o.b.plant,exclusive of freight charges and excise taxes.Thevalue data are displayed in millions of dollars.


These tables are based on figures supplied by the United States Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce and are subject to revision by the Census Bureau.

Copyright 2019 Photius Coutsoukis and Information Technology Associates, all rights reserved.