Trucks travel 91 billion miles as part of $312B industry

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Total revenue for truck transportation, couriers and messengers, and warehousing and storage reached $312 billion in 2006, up from $293 billion the year before, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday, Dec. 4.

U.S. commercial trucks traveled 91 billion miles in 2006, a number equal to nearly 200,000 round trips to the moon, with revenues reaching $220 billion. Of that amount, motor carrier revenue equaled $204 billion, with 67 percent from long-distance trucking and the remaining $67.9 billion from local trucking.

The report, 2006 Service Annual Survey: Truck Transportation, Couriers and Messengers, and Warehousing and Storage, provides estimates — such as revenue, size of shipments, revenue by commodity shipped, origin and destination of shipment, and inventories of revenue-generating equipment — for firms with paid employees.

Trucking within U.S. borders accounted for 96 percent, or $196 billion, of motor carrier revenue in 2006. Revenue generated from truck transportation with Canada, Mexico and all other destinations was $8 billion.

Among the largest dollar volume of truck shipments were new furniture and miscellaneous manufactured products, agricultural and fish products, base metal and machinery, and wood products, textiles and leathers.

Other highlights:

  • Couriers and messengers revenue was $72 billion in 2006. Warehousing and storage totaled $21 billion;
  • About 84 percent of trucks and trailers were owned and/or leased with drivers, while 16 percent were leased without drivers;
  • General freight trucking, which handles commodities transported on pallets in a container or van trailer, contributed two-thirds of all trucking revenue with $147 billion;
  • Trucks transporting specialized freight – requiring equipment such as flatbeds, tankers or refrigerated trailers because of the size, weight or shape of the commodity – accounted for the remainder of trucking revenue at $73 billion;
  • Local general freight trucking revenues, which come from carrying goods within a single metropolitan area and its adjacent nonurban area, grew 12.3 percent to $25 billion; and
  • Long-distance general freight revenues, which come from carrying goods between metropolitan areas, increased 4.3 percent to $122 billion.
  • The Service Annual Survey provides data that help measure America’s current economic performance for gross domestic product estimates; it also provides a way of tracking market trends and productivity. The report excludes private motor carriers that operate as auxiliary establishments of nontransportation companies.

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