United States Freight Transport Report

Published 25 June 2015

  • 84 pages
  • Instant access to your report online and PDF format through your account library
  • Includes 3 free updated quarterly reports
United States Freight Transport Report

BMI View: Our general outlook on the US freight sector is that it will enjoy steady growth across all modes in 2015, in line with the strengthening recovery in the economy and a resurgent consumer, and that this will continue through into the following year.

We expect US headline growth will pick up significantly in the coming quarters, bolstered by buoyant household consumption and reduced headwinds in other areas. We forecast real GDP growth of 2.5% in 2015 (down from our previous forecast of 2.9%), which we expect will increase slightly, to 2.6%, in 2016. We expect that growth will average around 2.5% over the next 10 years. Lower fuel costs will ultimately be beneficial to household consumption. We continue to expect that private consumption, the main engine of US growth, will benefit from improving consumer sentiment and a tighter labour market, with unemployment having nearly halved since peaking in late 2009, coming in at 5.4% in April. This will result in steady growth for all freight modes over the coming year.

Road freight will continue to be the leading freight mode in the US in terms of volumes carried over 2015, benefitting from increased consumer demand for imported goods, an uptick in online retail deliveries across the country, and continued demand for grain road freight over short distances

Rail freight represents a sizeable tranche of the US freight sector, and with strong demand for agricultural exports, particularly grain, in conjunction with our expectations of a continued uptick in demand for both crude oil transport by rail, and intermodal rail freight, we expect steady growth over the medium term, albeit at a slower rate than road.

We expect Air Freight will see the slowest growth in tonnage over our forecast period through till 2019, at less than 4% a year. The majority of this growth will be generated by domestic demand, and the importing of Asian electronic goods by consumers benefitting from the strong dollar.

Meanwhile, we expect a...

BMI Industry View
Operational Risk
Industry Forecast
Trade Forecast
Table: Trade Overview (United States 2012-2019)
Table: Key Trade Indicators (United States 2012-2019)
Table: Main Import Partners
Table: Main Export Partners
Road Freight Forecast
Table: Road Freight (United States 2012-2019)
Rail Freight Forecast
Table: Rail Freight (United States 2012-2019)
Air Freight Forecast
Table: Air Freight (United States 2012-2019)
Company Profile
Norfolk Southern Corporation (Norfolk Southern)
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway
YRC Worldwide
Delta Cargo
Political Outlook
Foreign Policy
Long-Term Political Outlook
Table: Political Overview
Oil Price Outlook
Global - Crude Oil, Refined Fuels And Natural Gas Prices, 10-year Forecasts
Table: Energy Price Forecasts, 2013-2018
Table: Energy Price Forecasts, 2019-2024 ( Global 2019-2024)
Macroeconomic Forecasts
Economic Activity
Demographic Forecast
Table: Population Headline Indicators (United States 1990-2025)
Table: Key Population Ratios (United States 1990-2025)
Table: Urban/Rural Population & Life Expectancy (United States 1990-2025)
Table: Population By Age Group (United States 1990-2025)
Table: Population By Age Group % (United States 1990-2025)
Industry Forecast Methodology
Sector-Specific Methodology

The United States Freight Transport Report has been researched at source, and features latest-available data covering commercial transport and logistics by road, rail, air and water; industry forecasts, company rankings covering leading national and multinational operators; and analysis of latest industry trends, opportunities, projects and regulatory changes.

BMI Research's United States Freight Transport Report provides industry professionals and strategists, sector analysts, investors, trade associations and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the American freight transport and logistics industry.

Key Benefits

  • Benchmark BMI's independent freight transport industry forecasts on United States to test other views - a key input for successful budgetary and planning in the strategic freight transport market.
  • Target business opportunities and risks in the American freight transport sector through our reviews of latest industry trends, regulatory changes and major deals, projects and investments in United States.
  • Assess the activities, strategy and market position of your competitors, partners and clients via our Company Profiles (inc. SWOTs, KPIs, and latest activity).


BMI Industry View

Summary of BMI’s key industry forecasts, views and trend analysis covering freight transport and logistics, regulatory changes, major investments and projects and significant national and multinational company developments.

Industry SWOT Analysis

Analysis of the major strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within the freight transport sector and within the broader political, economic and business environment.

BMI Industry Forecasts

Historic data series (2008-2012) and forecasts to end-2019 for all key industry and economic indicators (see list below), supported by explicit assumptions plus analysis of key downside risks to the main forecast including:

  • Transport Sector: Total freight carried by road, rail, inland waterways, maritime, air and pipeline (mn tonnes-km/mn tonnes).
  • Trade: Exports and imports (USDmn) by category of goods (manufactured goods, food, chemicals etc.); top five import and export trade partners (USDmn); imports/exports to each global region (USDmn)
  • Port Data: Throughput (‘000 tonnes) for all major ports in the state.
  • Oil Products Prices: Price forecasts for gasoline and aviation fuel (USD/bbl) at all major global energy trading hubs.
  • Economic Indicators: Nominal GDP (USDbn); real GDP growth (%); GDP per capita (USD); industrial production (%); unemployment (%)

Market Overview

Details of the freight infrastructure in each state by segment (road, rail, air, water and pipelines). Full analysis of the competitive landscape within each segment.

Industry Trends and Developments

Analysis of the latest projects across the freight transport sector (road, rail, air, sea and logistics) including a market overview which provides an outline of the key elements driving development.

Political Outlook

The Freight Transport market reports contain a chapter detailing the political outlook of a given region, examining the domestic politics, long-term outlook and foreign policy, and assessing the impact this could have on freight and transport businesses.

Company Profiles*

Examines the short- to medium-term business strategies of key industry players. Strategy is examined within the context of BMI’s industry forecasts, our macroeconomic views and our understanding of the wider competitive landscape to generate company SWOT analyses.

The latest financial and operating statistics and key company developments are also incorporated within the company profiles, enabling a full evaluation of recent company performance and future growth prospects.


The Freight Transport reports draw on an extensive network of primary sources, such as multilateral organisations, government departments, industry associations, chambers and company reports

*Company profiles are not available for every country. Those reports instead contain information on the current activities of prominent companies operating in the market.

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