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Freight Economy

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FHWA's Roundtable on the Freight Economy: Chicago, Illinois

Date: August 25, 2016

Our Host: Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and Supply Chain Innovation Network of Chicago (SINC)

Key Regional Transportation Facilities and Freight Hubs

HIGHWAYSI-290, I-294, I-355, I-55, I-57, I-80, I-88, I-90, I-94, IL 390, IL 394, IL 53
AIRPORTSO'Hare International Airport, Midway International Airport
WATERBORNE Houston Ship Channel, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Port of Houston Authority, Port of Texas City, Port of Galveston, Port Freeport
FREIGHT CLUSTERCore/Greater Midway, Fox River Valley, Greater O'Hare, North Chicagoland, South Cook County, Will County

Freight Facilities

Source: CMAP

Stakeholders Represented by the Following:

What the future of freight will look like for the region:

Top 5 Commodities by Value 2045

Commodity Value (millions $) % of total
Electronics 334,354 16%
Pharmaceuticals 211,817 10%
Machinery 171,976 8%
Natural gas (Coal-n.e.c.) 113,271 5%
Mixed freight 110,043 5%
All commodities 2,073,492 100%

Top 5 Commodities by Weight 2045

Commodity Tons (thousands) % of total
Natural gas (Coal-n.e.c.) 262,782 22%
Base metals 74,475 6%
Gravel 73,804 6%
Crude petroleum 66,892 6%
Other foodstuffs 57,286 5%
All commodities 1,180,060 100%

Trading Partners 2045

Outbound by Weight of Shipment
(thousand tons)

Trade partner Tonnage % of total
Indiana 103,225 24%
Ohio 52,436 12%
Michigan 41,766 10%
Illinois 41,473 10%
Wisconsin 24,095 6%
Total outbound 431,242 100%

Inbound by Weight of Shipment
(thousand tons)

Trade partner Tonnage % of total
Canada 70,860 16%
Missouri 41,346 9%
Iowa 37,314 8%
Illinois 36,458 8%
Wisconsin 26,643 6%
Total inbound 439,336 100%

Based on FAF4.1 data with base year 2012 and forecasts up to 2045
Outbound: domestic and exports originated from the region
Inbound: domestic and imports destination in the region
Intra region moves not included

Modal Freight Share by Tonnage, 2012 and 2045

In 2014, the Illinois GDP was $742.0 billion, ranked 5th in the U.S. The Chicago- Naperville- Elgin, IL-IN-WI GDP was $610.6 billion, ranked 3rd among U.S. metro areas.

Between 2012 and 2045, the metropolitan Chicago region will see freight activity grow by about 63% in tonnage and more than double in value.

In 2012, the top three commodities (electronics, pharmaceuticals, machinery) represented a quarter of all freight value in the metro Chicago region, with the share expected to reach 35% in 2045.

The metropolitan Chicago region’s share of international freight by value is projected to grow from 16% in 2012 to 31% in 2045.

In 2014, annual congestion costs in the metro Chicago region were $7.2 billion, ranked 3rd among U.S. urban areas.

In 2014, 3.8 billion tons of cargo landed at O’Hare international Airport, ranked 4th in the nation by weight of all-cargo operations.

As of 2014, the seven- county Chicago region supported about 560,000 manufacturing jobs. The region is also home to the third largest U.S. freight cluster with 179,000 jobs.

The Chicago region is home to an extensive multimodal freight facilities network, including 30,000 miles of roads, 3,600 miles of freight-rail, 100 miles of navigable waterways, and major airports. The region supports about 1.1 billion square feet of industrial development supporting freight and manufacturing activity.

In 2015, trucks accounted for about one in eight vehicle-miles-traveled on the urban Interstate highways in Illinois,. Some facilities in metropolitan Chicago carry over 30,000 trucks each day.

Approximately 25 percent of all freight railcars and 50 percent of all intermodal rail containers and trailers in the nation pass through Chicago, which serves as North America’s main interchange point between western and eastern railroads.

Sources for Freight Facts: FAF4 Data, Bureau of Economic Analysis,US DOT Freight Fact and Figure, TTI 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, 2015 Illinois Travel Statistics -IDOT, Quarter of railcar traffic: AAR, 2016, Truck VMT CMAP 2015, http://apps.dot.illinois.gov/gist2/, CMAP analysis of Economic Modeling

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Page last modified on August 29, 2017
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