The Commodity Flow Survey (CFS), a component of the Economic Census, is the only comprehensive source of multi-modal, system-wide data on the volume and pattern of goods movement in the United States. The CFS is conducted through a partnership between the U.S. Census Bureau and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Department of Transportation (DOT). The survey provides a crucial set of statistics on the value, weight, mode, and distance of commodities shipped by mining, manufacturing, wholesale, and selected retail and services establishments, as well as auxiliary establishments that support these industries. The U.S. Census Bureau will publish these shipment characteristics for the nation, census regions and divisions, states, and CFS defined geographic areas. As with the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey, this survey also identifies export and hazardous material shipments.
Federal, state, and local government agencies spend over $100 billion annually on transportation programs. The CFS provides data that are critical to these agencies in making a wide range of transportation investment decisions for developing and maintaining an efficient transportation infrastructure that supports economic growth and competitiveness.
Transportation planners require the periodic benchmarks provided by a continuing CFS to evaluate and respond to ongoing geographic shifts in production and distribution centers, as well as policies such as “just in time delivery.”
Yes. As part of the Economic Census, the CFS information collection is required by law under Title 13, United States Code (13 U.S.C. Sections 131 and 193). Section 224 makes reporting mandatory.
The survey covers establishments in the mining, manufacturing, wholesale, and selected retail and service industries, as well as auxiliary establishments that support these industries.
The survey is conducted every five years and is a component of the Economic Census.
An outbound shipment is a movement of commodities from your establishment to another single location, in one trip. Single shipments may have multiple vehicles, such as unit trains or truck convoys.
"Commodities" refer to items that your company produces, sells, or distributes. Waste-products (without value) of your location’s operation are not considered commodities, and should not be reported.
Your company name and address was selected from a sampling frame extracted from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Register. The Business Register is a comprehensive centralized database of business establishments throughout the United States. The stratified random sample design used for CFS is a design that uses the least number of sampling units required to produce estimates with the desired level of reliability, thus minimizing the respondent burden. Sampling small businesses at a lower rate, further reduces the burden.
The Census Bureau makes every effort to limit respondent burden. Specific sampling requirements based upon a combination of industry, geography, and firm size, may make it necessary to include your company in the survey.
YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW. Title 13, United States code, requires businesses and other organizations that receive this questionnaire to answer the questions and return the report to the U.S. Census Bureau. Title 13 prohibits your removal from the survey. By the same law, YOUR REPORT IS CONFIDENTIAL. It may be seen only by persons sworn to uphold the confidentiality of U.S. Census Bureau information and may be used only for statistical purposes. Further, copies retained in respondents’ files are immune from legal process.
The statutory basis for these assurances of confidentiality is Title 13 U.S.C., Section 9. All activities relating to the collection and dissemination of CFS data satisfy requirements of this law.
If no shipping occurs from your location, then please notify the Census Bureau by providing an explanation in the “Remarks” section of the initial questionnaire.
No. The Commodity Flow Survey covers all types of shipments including local, long distance, and export.
If you are a small business, then your firm most likely represents several other small businesses. Firms of all sizes are represented to provide a complete measure of shipping activity.
You are required to report for a sample of shipments during a specified one - week period in each of the quarters during the calendar year.