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7 Surprising U.S. Logistics Statistics

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Logistics is an extraordinary business. It touches almost every element of our personal and professional lives, yet often remains in the background for all except those of us who work in the field.

Each part of the supply chain contributes in some way to bringing products into homes and businesses around the country, with a massive contribution to employment and the wider economy.

A Container of Logistics Statistics

To understand just how much this is true - and what goes into making everything run smoothly - consider these 7 surprising logistics statistics:

  1. Expenditure on U.S. logistics was $1.1 trillion in 2009, which is larger than the national GDP of every country in the world, except for the top 12. [CSCMP,2009]
  2. America's roads generated total revenues of $791.3 billion for the country's economy in 2012. [Marketline, 2013]
  3. The U.S. transport infrastructure includes:
    1. 47,000 miles of Interstate roads,
    2. 94,313 miles of Class I freight railroads,
    3. 25,320 miles of navigable sailing channels. [2008 RITA]
  4. U.S. rail freight grew by 4.6% in 2013, with the value of the sector up to more than $60 billion. [Association of American Railroads, 2013]
  5. The average container vessel calling along the Pacific Coast, which is the busiest port area of the U.S.,  is 4,345 TEU. This is equivalent to a maximum potential weight of more than 100,000 tonnes, or in excess of 230 million lbs! [RITA, 2011]
  6. Transportation and warehouse employment alone represents 3.2% of the total US workforce, more than 4 million people. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010]
  7. Companies that use sophisticated supply chain methods have been found to achieve profit levels 12 times greater than those with less sophisticated solutions. [Bain & Company]

For more on where we see the profession going this year, read our summary of supply chain management trends for 2014.