TD 5-1: Domestic Freight Activity by Mode (Millions of metric tons)


Air: Air data reflect Level I to III Canadian air carriers that transported 1,000 or more tonnes of revenue goods, or 5,000 or more revenue passengers, between airports located within Canada. In Table 5-1, air data are expressed in units of millions of tonnes. In Table 5-2, data are in billions of tonne-kilometers.

Pipeline: Pipeline data include the population of Canadian industries classified as Natural Gas Pipeline Transport, Natural Gas Distribution, Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil and Other Pipeline Transportation according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The data include the amounts of oil and natural gas transported via domestic pipelines. Conversion factors of 0.73 and 0.844 are used to convert cubic metres of natural gas and oil, respectively, to equivalent tonnages.

Rail: Rail data are based on traffic originating and terminating in Canada, handled by Class I railways. Class I includes Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CPR) Rail traffic as well as traffic received from Class II carriers. Thus, Table 5-1 is the total annual tonnes handled by Class I railways and Table 5-2 is the corresponding total annual tonne-kilometres (including any Class II activity, if applicable).

Road: Road data are based on the Quarterly For-Hire Trucking (Commodity Origin/Destination) Survey. This survey measures outputs of the Canadian for-hire trucking industry by providing estimates of intercity commodity movements. Output variables include tonnes transported, commodities carried, revenues generated and origins and destinations of shipments. The target population consists of shipments transported by Canadian domiciled for-hire motor carriers with annual transportation revenues derived from intercity trucking of $1 million or more. Courier and messenger services are not covered by this survey. Prior to 2004, data excludes local (less than 25 kilometers) deliveries, and deliveries made by private trucks and small for-hire carriers. Since 2004, data include the local trucking sector and all shipments made by the companies on the survey frame are in-scope.

Water transport: All water data are based on domestic shipping information that is collected by means of the S.1 Domestic Shipping Report and the S.4 Towboat and Ferry Operators Shipping Report (the S.4 report is used on the West Coast only). A record of activity is filed with Statistics Canada for each vessel entering or leaving a Canadian port in domestic shipping, with the exception of cargo vessels under 15 net registered tons, tugs or other vessels under 15 gross registered tons, Canadian naval or fishing vessels, research vessels, ballast movements for towboats and ferry operators on the West Coast.



Air: Data for Tables 5-1 and 5-2 refer to shipments transported by national air carriers in regular and charter services of load (shipments carried by air taxis are not included). In Table 5.2, for the calculation of the ton-kilometers in domestic service, an average distance of 862 kilometers was assumed. This data was calculated based on the different routes and traffic intensities.

Water transport: Data include shipments made through the ports of the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. In Table 5-2 an average distance of 630 kilometers for coastal sailing was assumed taking into consideration the average of entrances and departures. Although this number is a 1988 estimate made by the former Dirección General de Obras Marítimas (Office of Maritime Works), the coastal sailing structure in Mexico has not changed much since then, so the figure remains a reasonable estimate.

Rail: Exports and imports are excluded from the rail data. Data represent the activity of all railroad systems. For Table 5-2 data were based on the average distances for the total system freight activity. For each year, the data were calculated using the following formula: Ton-km transported in domestic traffic = (total ton-km transported/total ton transported) x ton transported in domestic traffic.

Road: Data are based on estimates of the number of freight vehicles registered to travel on the federal highway network in the Sistema Integral de Información del Autotransporte Federal –SIIAF- (Integral Information System of Federal Motor Carriers) of the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes, plus surveys that provide data on the actual average payload per vechicle per trip in tons and the number of trips per vehicle per week. Data for metric tons are calculated using the following formula:

Transported tons per year = Number of vehicles x average load per trip x average trips per vehicle per week x 52

These survey data are included in the document Estadística Básica del Autotransporte Federal (Basic Statistics of Federal Motor Carriers) prepared by Dirección General de Autotransporte Federal (Federal Motor Carrier General Directorate) of the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes.

For table 5-2, the estimate of metric tons is multiplied by the average distance that freight vehicles travel. The average distance is derived from a survey conducted by the Dirección General de Autotransporte Federal of the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes, and takes into consideration origin/destination information.


  United States

U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, derived from the following data sources:
2007 – present:
Air, Truck, Rail, Pipeline, Water: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Office of Freight Management and Operations, Freight Analysis Framework, version 3.4, 2013, available at, as of October 2013.
Air: U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Office of Airline Information, Air Carrier Traffic Statistics (Washington, DC: December Issues).
Water: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterborne Commerce of the United States, Part 5 National Summaries (New Orleans, LA: Annual Issues), Section 1, table 1-4 available at
Pipeline: U.S. Department of Transportation, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, National Transportation Statistics (Washington, DC), table 1-50, available at
Rail: Association of American Railroads, Railroad Facts (Washington, DC: Annual Issues)
Truck: Eno Transportation Foundation, Transportation in America (Washington DC: 2007), 20th Edition