Source: Adapted from US Department of Commerce.
Share of Transport Costs in Product Prices and Average Haul Length
There is a distinct difference between the level of transport intensity of goods and economic sectors (share of transport costs in the price), a trend which is mostly attributed by the material intensiveness of each good in relation to its value. The most transport intensive sectors involving agriculture, forestry and fishing, which are by their nature handling ponderous goods over long distances. For instance, the costs of shipping lettuce between California and New York is about $8,000 per truckload. This is related to the long distance involved, but also to the requirement that the lettuce must be stored at constant temperatures (cold chain) between 0 and 2 degrees Celsius. Construction and mining share similar characteristics as ponderous products are transported, but in this case over much shorter distances. For instance, construction materials such as stone, clay and glass have among the highest transport intensity (27%) and are on average transported over distances of less than 100 km. In a global setting, wholesale and retail activities are increasingly becoming transport dependent as many segments of manufacturing have been offshored. Information processing activities, namely finance, insurance and real estate are the least dependent on transportation since they have limited material inputs.