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Freight Economy

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FHWA's Roundtable on the Freight Economy: Boston, Massachusetts

Date: May 3, 2016

Our Host: Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Key Regional Transportation Facilities and Freight Hubs

HIGHWAYSI-93, I-95, I-495, I-90, I-84, and I-395
RAILROADSCSX, Pan Am, and Fore River Railroads
AIRPORTSLogan Airport
WATERBORNEPort of Boston
FREIGHT CLUSTEREverett-Chelsea Industrial Area, CSX Intermodal Terminal (Worcester)

Freight Facilities

Sources: massDOT Note: Rail Data updated by Central Transportation Planning Staff, August 2014. Intermodel Connectors Obtained from FHWA National Highway System Shapefile

Stakeholders Represented by the Following:

What the future of freight will look like for Boston Metro Region:

Boston Metro, MA/NH/RI (3 FAF4 zones)

Top 5 Commodities by Value 2045

Commodity Value (millions $) % of total
Electronics 179,794 17%
Precision instruments 135,507 13%
Pharmaceuticals 99,447 9%
Misc. mfg. prods. 85,443 8%
Mixed freight 85,055 8%
All commodities 1,062,886 100%

Top 5 Commodities by Weight 2045

Commodity Tons (thousands) % of total
Natural gas (Coal-n.e.c.) 40,772 11%
Nonmetal min. prods. 38,824 11%
Waste/scrap 35,576 10%
Gravel 34,256 9%
Gasoline 34,102 9%
All commodities 368,080 100%

Trading Partners 2045

Outbound by Weight of Shipment
(thousand tons)

Trade partner Tonnage % of total
Connecticut 8,018 14%
Maine 6,050 10%
SW & Central Asia 5,178 9%
New York 4,232 7%
Canada 3,763 6%
Total outbound 58,422 100%

Inbound by Weight of Shipment
(thousand tons)

Trade partner Tonnage % of total
Canada 19,866 15%
Connecticut 17,678 13%
New York 15,969 12%
Rest of Americas 11,059 8%
Maine 10,216 8%
Total inbound 131,618 100%

Based on FAF4.1 data with base year 2012 and forecasts up to 2045

Modal Freight Share by Tonnage, 2012 and 2045

Among U.S. metropolitan areas, the Boston MSA (Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH) GDP was ranked ninth in 2014.

About 40% of the Greater Boston metro’s (MA/NH/RI) employment is in the freightintensive sector.

Between 2012 and 2045, the Greater Boston metro’s freight activity is projected to double in value and grow 45% in tonnage.

Trucks carry most of the freight in the Greater Boston metro region, both in value (70%) and tonnage (87%).

By 2045, the share of outbound shipments from the Greater Boston metro region to Europe will reach 16% by value, the highest share among the FAF analysis regions.

Annual congestion costs in the Greater Boston metro region in 2014 were estimated at $3.36 billion, ranking ninth among U.S. urban areas.

Heavy truck volume freight flows from New York to Massachusetts on I-84, I-90, and throughout the Boston metro area.

Heavy truck and auto traffic bottlenecks include most of I-93 in the Boston metro region, I-90 from Westfield to Boston, and sections of I-495, I-290, and I-95.

Large freight distribution center and warehouse clusters are located in the Boston, Worcester (I-90 & I-395) and Springfield (I-90 & I-91) areas.

Conley Container Terminal in Boston serves seven of the world’s top 10 container lines. An estimated 75% to 90% of the terminal’s marine freight shipment is destined for locations within 100 miles of the port.

Sources for Freight Facts: FAF4 Data, US DOT Freight Fact and Figure, S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, massDOT, massport, TTI 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, massDOT2010 State Freight Plan

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Page last modified on August 29, 2017
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