Value of Inland and Coastal Waterways to the Nation
Here are some facts that depict the contribution of the US port and inland waterways system to the national economy:
Value of cargo
- 2.3 billion tons of domestic and foreign commerce moved annually.
- 630 million tons of cargo, with a value of $73 billion, move on the inland waterways system.
- Cargo moved by the inland waterways system yields an average transportation savings of $10.67 per ton over the cost of shipping by alternative means, translating into an annual savings of over $7 billion to the consumer.
- The value of goods exchanged between states using ports and waterways exceeds $100 billion annually.
- The value of foreign trade handled at ports in 1998 was $664 billion.
- Over 60% of nation’s grain exports and over 95% of soybean exports move by barge.
- For every $1 spent on improving the navigation infrastructure, the US Gross Domestic Product increases by more than $3.
- Crude oil and petroleum products accounted for over 40% of all short tons shipped on the inland waterways system in 1998.
- In Alabama,
- $7.5 billion of cargo is moved annually on domestic water transportation
- In 1996, shipment by water was 28.8 million tons, valued at $4.8 billion.
- The value of domestic products shipped into the state by water in 1996 is estimated at $2.6 billion.
- The major commodity shipped on inland waterways is coal, 33% of total.
Scope of ports and waterways
- There are over 25,000 miles of inland waterways
- Inland and intracoastal waterways serve 38 states.
- 95% of the nation’s foreign commerce flow through deepwater ports.
- The waterways industry pays fuel taxes of 20 cents/gal, more than any other mode of transportation.
- The replacement value of projects making up the inland and intracoastal waterways is over $125 billion.
- The port industry in the US employs approximately 1.6 million people and contribute $15.4 billion in federal taxes and $5.9 billion in state and local taxes.
- 61% of all US imports and 63% of all US exports flow through a port located in a southern state.
- More than 460,000 jobs in the South depend on the region’s inland waterways system.
- In Alabama
- Industries using water transportation provide over 60,000 jobs.
- The inland waterways industry itself generates 2,800 jobs, providing $18 million in state and Federal payroll taxes.
- The economic impact of the Alabama State Docks in Mobile statewide is over $3 billion.
- The Mobile Port ranks 8th nationally in export tonnage and 16th in import.
- Flood protection programs prevent an average of $20 billion in damages per year, saving $6 for every $1 spent.
- Since 1928, Corps flood control programs have prevented nearly $226 billion in damages.
- The Corps of Engineers has built 400 lakes and reservoirs in the US for flood control purposes.
- Hydroelectric power generated by dams produce enough electricity to supply 4.64 million homes with power and $533 million to the US Treasury.
- 20% of the coal used as fuel to produce the nation’s electricity is moved on the inland waterways system.
- In Alabama, the average annual energy produced by US Army Corps of Engineers dams is enough to supply 128,000 homes with electricity, valued at nearly $90 million.
- 9.5 million acre-feet of water storage from 116 lakes and reservoirs in the US supply water for thousands of cities, towns, and industries.
- In Alabama, over 4 million party visits to Corps recreation sites contribute over $365 million in direct and indirect sales, resulting in 8,000 jobs.