The Surprising Numbers of the Maritime Transportation Network

Barge on Columbia River, Washington

Maritime transportation get less attention than highways, transit, rail and bike-ped – yet it’s every bit as important to our economy and lives.  Consider these numbers:

Cargo movement & associated activities account for more than $649 of the US GDP, sustains over 13 million jobs and contributes over $212 billion in annual federal, state and local taxes.

The Marine Transportation System includes nearly 25,000 miles of navigable channels, 238 locks at 192 locations, over 3,700 marine terminals, over 174,000 miles of rail, over 45,000 miles of interstate highway, over 115,000 miles of other roadways, and over 1,400 designated intermodal connections.

Port of Tacoma (Image: POT)

The marine highway is the “most economical, environmentally sustainable, and safest mode of commercial freight transportation.”  That’s mostly because a typical inland barge has a capacity 15 times greater than one rail car, and 60 times one semi trailer truck”.

And it’s not just freight: “A total of 220 ferry operators transport an estimated 147 million passengers annually, generating an estimated $1.35 billion in yearly revenue.”

Source: Briefing Memo, House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation


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The Surprising Numbers of the Maritime Transportation Network