Office of Operations Freight Management and Operations

Freight Facts and Figures 2008

IV. The Freight Transportation Industry

The private sector owns a significant share of assets in the transportation industry:

$984.7 billion in equipment plus $557.5 billion in private structures, compared to $485.7 billion in transportation equipment plus $2.36 trillion in highways owned by public agencies.1 Freight railroad facilities and services are almost entirely private, while trucks in the private sector operate over public highways, air-cargo services in the private sector operate in public airways and mostly public airports, and ships in the private sector serve public waterways and both public and private port facilities.  Pipelines are mostly in the private sector, although significantly controlled by public regulation.  In the public sector, virtually all truck routes are owned by state or local governments, airports and harbors are typically owned by public authorities (although terminals are usually owned or managed by private operators), air and water navigation is mostly federal, and safety is regulated by all levels of government.


1 Fixed assets are for 2006 and include both passenger and freight transportation.  See the Bureau of Economic Analysis at




Office of Operations