Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation
Statistics, Growth in the Nation's Freight Shipments – Highlights.
Increases in U.S. Commercial Freight Shipments and Related Growth
The high rate of growth of retail and wholesale activities in the
United States in the 1990s suggests a substantial commodification of
the economy and a new commercial environment where the consumer plays
a greater role. Estimates place personal consumption accounting for
about 70% of the GDP. While the population increased by about 11% over
that decade, retail sales increased by 62%, which is twice the growth of the
GDP. Distribution activities have been organized to cope with this growth
of the demand, which has been accompanied by a growth of the value of
freight shipments (value added products) and the average haul distance.
This reflects the growing prominence of products that have a
lighter weight in relation to their value (e.g. electronics) and
more efficient transport systems to support capacity and
reliability requirements of contemporary freight distribution.