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Freight Economy

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FHWA's Roundtable on the Freight Economy: Houston, Texas

Date: July 11, 2016

Our Host: Houston Metropolitan Chamber, Houston-Galveston Area Council and Workforce Solutions

Key Regional Transportation Facilities and Freight Hubs

HIGHWAYSI-10, I-69, I-610, I-45, US 59, US 90, US 290
RAILROADSKansas City Southern, Union Pacific, BNSF, Port Terminal Railroad Association
AIRPORTSWilliam P. Hobby, George Bush Intercontinental
WATERBORNE Houston Ship Channel, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Port of Houston Authority, Port of Texas City, Port of Galveston, Port Freeport
FREIGHT CLUSTEREast Harris County Petrochemical Complex, Brazosport Petrochemical, Houston Ship Channel Intermodal Facilities, Western Fort Bend County Railroad facilities, Central Houston rail yards, George Bush Intercontinental air cargo terminals

Freight Facilities

Source: H-GAC

Stakeholders Represented by the Following:

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

Data represents freight activity for Greater Houston Region (CSA)

Top 5 Commodities by Value 2045

Commodity Value (millions $) % of total
Electronics 266,178 13%
Machinery 216,305 10%
Plastics/rubber 203,656 10%
Fuel oils 177,499 8%
Basic chemicals 164,274 8%
All commodities 2,118,426 100%

Top 5 Commodities by Weight 2045

Commodity Tons (thousands) % of total
Fuel oils 248,090 17%
Natural gas (Coal-n.e.c.) 196,768 13%
Crude petroleum 157,874 11%
Basic chemicals 157,217 10%
Gasoline 127,673 8%
All commodities 1,503,339 100%

Trading Partners 2045

Outbound by Weight of Shipment
(thousand tons)

Trade partner Tonnage % of total
Rest of Americas 76,242 17%
Texas 65,426 14%
Louisiana 41,630 9%
Eastern Asia 40,060 9%
Mexico 30,777 7%
Total outbound 453,644 100%

Inbound by Weight of Shipment
(thousand tons)

Trade partner Tonnage % of total
Texas 190,310 41%
Mexico 51,143 11%
Louisiana 34,676 7%
Rest of Americas 30,180 6%
SW & Central Asia 29,688 6%
Total inbound 468,495 100%

Based on FAF4.2 data with base year 2012 and forecasts upto 2045

Modal Freight Share by Tonnage, 2012 and 2045

In 2014, Texas's GDP was $1.6 billion, ranked 2nd among U.S. states. The Houston region's GDP was 23.3% of the state's GDP, ranked 4th among U.S. metro areas.

About half of the Greater Houston region’s employment is generated by freightintensive industries.

Between 2012 and 2045, the Greater Houston region will see freight activity double both in tonnage and in value.

The Greater Houston region's share of international freight by value is projected to grow from 25% in 2012 to 41% in 2045.

In 2014, annual congestion costs in the Houston metro region were $4.9 billion, ranked 6th in the nation.

In 2013, the Houston area had 5 of the top 25 U.S. freightcongested locations: I-45 at US-59, I-610 at US 290, I-10 at I-45, I-10 at US 59, and I-45 at I-610.

In 2014, 867,000 tons of cargo landed in George Bush Intercontinental airport, ranked 17th in the nation.

Four deepwater ports in the region - the Port of Houston Authority (1st in US international waterborne tonnage, 2nd in US total tonnage), the Port of Galveston (4th in US cruise activity), Port Freeport, and the Port of Texas City - together directly sustain at least 71,000 jobs.

The three regional Class I railroads - Union Pacific, BNSF, and Kansas City Southern - operate nearly 1,000 miles of track and annually carry more than 150 million tons of local freight.

The Greater Houston region's pipelines extend more than 21,000 miles. The pipelines annually carry more than 445 million freight volume tons, ranking 1st in the nation in pipeline freight volumes.

Sources for Freight Facts: FAF4 Data, US DOT Freight Fact and Figure 2015, TTI 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, H-GAC Regional Goods Movement Plan (2013), TxDOT Port Capital Plan 2015-2016, Bureau of Economic Analysis

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Page last modified on August 29, 2017
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