Transportation Research & Analysis

Our Transportation Services Division (TSD) serves as the definitive source for economic analysis of agricultural transportation from farm to market.  TSD experts support domestic and international agribusinesses by providing market reports, economic analysis, transportation disruption reports, technical assistance, and outreach to various industry stakeholders.

Tracking developments in truck, rail, barge, and ocean transportation, TSD provides information and analysis on the four major modes of moving food from farm to table, port to market. 

Grain Transportation

U.S. agricultural producers rely on a transportation network that is reliable, efficient, and safe. The weekly Grain Transportation Report (GTR) provides the latest insights about market developments that affect grain shippers that use trucks, railcars, barges, and ocean vessels to ship their products to market. The quarterly Grain Truck Advisory (GTOR) contains information about truck and ocean rates for grain movements. The annual Modal Share Analysis report examines trends in the type of transportation used to move grains grown for the food and feed industry.

Transportation of Other Agricultural Products

Many agricultural products require special handling and services during transit. The weekly Ocean Shipping Container Availability Report (OSCAR) provides a snapshot of container availability at 18 select intermodal locations around the United States. The Agricultural Refrigerated Truck Quarterly Report (AgRTQ) provides a view of U.S. regional refrigerated truckload movements, in terms of volume and rates, to gauge the market trends in truck transportation of fresh fruits and vegetables.

International Transportation Analysis

U.S. agricultural exports benefit the U.S. balance of trade and compete for market share in the global market. Brazil is the world’s second largest soybean exporter after the United States and one of the most important U.S. competitors in the world oilseeds market. Brazil’s competitiveness in the world market depends largely on its transportation infrastructure and cost. Mexico is the third largest destination of U.S. agricultural exports after China and Canada. The United States buys about 80 percent of all Mexican exports. These market reports provide the latest transportation costs, volumes, and other market developments in Brazil and Mexico. Additional reports include analysis of the modal share of U.S. grain and soybean exports to Mexico and the impact of the Panama Canal expansion.

Agricultural Transportation Research and Information Center 

In recent years, U.S. agricultural movements represented 30 percent of all ton-miles moved on the U.S. transportation system that includes highways, waterways, and railroads. Results of on-going research and analysis are presented in staff issue papers and presentations, and additional research is available by mode and commodity. Additional resources and a freight forwarder database can assist U.S. exporters of agricultural products.

Regulatory Representation

Find comments provided to various regulatory agencies by USDA and AMS, representing the interests of agricultural shippers under the authority of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, and International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs Act of 1982.