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2017 Commodity Flow Survey (CFS)

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About the Survey


The Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) data are used by policy makers and transportation planners in various federal, state, and local agencies for assessing the demand for transportation facilities and services, energy use, and safety risk and environmental concerns. Additionally, business owners, private researchers, and analysts use the CFS data for analyzing trends in the movement of goods, mapping spatial patterns of commodity and vehicle flows, forecasting demands for the movement of goods, and determining needs for associated infrastructure and equipment.


Industry Coverage

The CFS covers business establishments in the following industries:

  • Mining
  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale trade
  • Select Retail and Services

The survey also covers selected auxiliary establishments (e.g., warehouses) of in-scope, multi-unit, and retail companies. Industries not covered by CFS include transportation, construction, most retail and services industries, farms, fisheries, foreign establishments, and most government-owned establishments.

Shipment coverage

The CFS collects data on shipments originating from within-scope industries, including exports. Imports are not included until the point that they leave the importer's initial domestic location for shipment to another location. The survey does not cover shipments originating from business establishments located in Puerto Rico and other U.S. possessions and territories.


The CFS captures data on shipments originating from selected types of business establishments located in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The establishments are asked to provide shipment information about a sample of their individual outbound shipments during a pre-specified one-week period. For shipments that include more than one commodity, respondents are instructed to report the commodity that makes up the greatest percentage of the shipment's weight.


The CFS was initiated in 1993. Beginning in 1997, the survey has been conducted every five years for years ending in "2" and "7." Predecessor surveys were conducted in various years between 1963 and 1983, but data for 1983 were not published.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | BHS Team |   Last Revised: January 04, 2018 14:14:22