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Freight Economy

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FHWA's Roundtable on the Freight Economy: Seattle, Washington

Date: June 24, 2016

Our Host: Greater Des Moines Partnership

Key Regional Transportation Facilities and Freight Hubs

HIGHWAYSI-5, I-90, SR 18, SR 167, I-405, SR 512, SR 518, SR 529
RAILROADSBNSF Railway, Union Pacific Railroad, Tacoma Rail
AIRPORTSSea-Tac International Airport, Paine Field Airport, Boeing Field/King County International Airport.
WATERBORNEPort of Seattle, Port of Tacoma.

Freight Facilities

Source: WSDOT

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
Transport equip. 255,239 29%
Electronics 96,924 11%
Mixed freight 63,758 7%
Misc. mfg. prods. 62,200 7%
Machinery 45,429 5%
All commodities 874,497 100%

Top 5 Commodities by Weight 2045

Commodity Tons (thousands) % of total
Other ag prods. 28,377 9%
Gravel 25,076 8%
Nonmetal min. prods. 23,463 7%
Gasoline 22,918 7%
Logs 22,726 7%
All commodities 318,239 100%

Trading Partners 2045

Outbound by Weight of Shipment
(thousand tons)

Trade partner Tonnage % of total
Eastern Asia 47,665 42%
Canada 14,737 13%
Washington 12,481 11%
Oregon 7,386 7%
SE Asia & Oceania 6,506 6%
Total outbound 112,523 100%

Inbound by Weight of Shipment
(thousand tons)

Trade partner Tonnage % of total
Canada 27,758 27%
California 12,646 12%
Washington 10,344 10%
Idaho 9,912 9%
Eastern Asia 9,526 9%
Total inbound 104,727 100%

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

Modal Freight Share by Tonnage, 2012 and 2045

In 2014, the Washington State GDP was $422.9 billion and ranked 14th among states in the U.S. The Seattle region’s GDP was 71% of the state’s GDP.

About 40% of the Seattle region’s employment is generated by freight-intensive industries.

Between 2012 and 2045, the Seattle region will see freight activity increase by about 50% in tonnage and about 120% in value.

The Seattle region’s share of international freight by both value and tonnage is projected to grow from about 20% in 2012 to about 40% in 2045.

A key commodity in the Seattle region, transport equipment is projected to grow to $255 billion in 2045, which will represent 29% of total freight value.

The estimated annual highway congestion cost in 2014 for the Seattle region was $3.3 billion, ranking 5th among 11th among all U.S. urban areas.

The I-5 section near Tacoma had the highest average daily truck traffic in Washington State in 2014, with 8% (15,226 trucks) of average daily traffic volume.

Demand for public rest areas on the I-5, I-90, and I-82 corridors is expected to substantially exceed capacity by the year 2030. The highest priority locations for new or expanded truck parking are along the I-5/I-90 corridor serving the Puget Sound Region.

In 2011, about 51% of Washington’s air cargo traveled through Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport. Sea-Tac’s freight activity is 65% domestic and 35% international.

Marine cargo operations at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma supported more than 48,000 jobs in 2013, generating nearly $4.3 billion in economic activity and more than $378 million in local and State tax revenues.

Sources for Freight Facts: FAF4 Data, Bureau of Economic Analysis, TTI 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, Washington State Freight Mobility Plan 2014

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Page last modified on August 29, 2017
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