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Freight Economy

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FHWA's Roundtable on the Freight Economy: Syracuse, New York

Date: May 16, 2016

Our Host: New York State Department of Transportation, Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council, Center State Corporation for Economic Opportunity, and the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council

Key Regional Transportation Facilities and Freight Hubs

HIGHWAYSI-81, I-90, I-481, I-690, State Routes 481 and 690
RAILROADSCSX Transportation; New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway; and Finger Lakes Railway
AIRPORTSSyracuse Hancock International Airport
WATERBORNEPort of Oswego (outside of Syracuse planning area)

Freight Facilities


Stakeholders Represented by the Following:

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

"Rest of NYS" FAF zone

Top 5 Commodities by Value 2045

Commodity Value (millions $) % of total
Mixed freight 45,435 14%
Electronics 37,334 11%
Pharmaceuticals 27,082 8%
Machinery 26,301 8%
Other foodstuffs 25,565 8%
All commodities 330,473 100%

Top 5 Commodities by Weight 2045

Commodity Tons (thousands) % of total
Natural gas (Coal-n.e.c.) 39,813 15%
Gravel 37,829 14%
Other foodstuffs 27,155 10%
Nonmetal min. prods. 18,212 7%
Waste/scrap 14,995 6%
All commodities 262,791 100%

Trading Partners 2045

Outbound by Weight of Shipment
(thousand tons)

Trade partner Tonnage % of total
Europe 18,297 23%
New York 15,882 20%
Pennsylvania 9,450 12%
Connecticut 6,512 8%
Massachusetts 4,602 6%
Total outbound 80,934 100%

Inbound by Weight of Shipment
(thousand tons)

Trade partner Tonnage % of total
New York 22,991 30%
Pennsylvania 13,473 18%
Canada 10,982 14%
New Jersey 5,213 7%
Connecticut 2,180 3%
Total inbound 75,842 100%

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

Modal Freight Share by Tonnage, 2012 and 2045

Between 2012 and 2045, freight activity will increase in value by 60% in Albany and by 73% in Rochester.

Freight activity in parts of upstate NY (Central NY, North Country, Southern Tier, and Chautauqua County) will grow by 76% in value between 2012 and 2045.

This part of upstate NY has a domestic freight activity share of 95% by value in 2012 expected to decrease to 91% in 2045.

By 2045, outbound shipments from upstate NY to Europe will reach a tonnage share of 23% up from 14% in 2012.

In 2012, trucks carried most of the freight in upstate NY--representing 80% in value and 83% in tonnage.

A cluster of freight generating businesses is located in the northern half of Onondaga County, close to I-90 and I-81.

In 2014, more than 40% of Onondaga County’s employment was from freight-intensive industries.

Air cargo totalling 162,500 tons landed at Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport in 2013, which was an almost 3% increase from 2012. The top three air cargo destinations from Syracuse are Memphis, Louisville, and Buffalo.

Syracuse is home to Destiny USA, the 6th largest shopping mall in North America, which attracts visitors from New York, New England, and Canada. Three of the largest Canadian cities (Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa) are within a four-hour drive of the mall.

Two major interstates, I-81 and I-90, intersect just north of Syracuse, in the center of Onondaga County. The heavy vehicle interstate traffic share ranges between 11% and 15% in the Syracuse area.

Sources for Freight Facts: FAF4 Data, Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), SMTC, NYSDOT

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Page last modified on August 29, 2017
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