The Economics of Trade and Freight Transportation in Illinois - Metropolitan Planning Council

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The Economics of Trade and Freight Transportation in Illinois

Business Leaders for Transportation Fact Sheet

Despite growth in international trade through the North America Free Trade Agreement, Illinois’ main trading partners are other states. Interstate trade in 1997 totaled $224 billion. These numbers account for commodities that originate in and are destined for Illinois, and does not include trade passing through the state by road and rail.

Illinois 1997 Commodity Trade

Source: Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL)
*The Midwest includes the states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin.


Moving the goods associated with the region’s high levels of trade means intense demand for transportation ser-vices.
Transportation, both passenger and freight, plays an important role in the region’s economy.

*Income is wages and salaries earned by industry employees. Production is the value of all trade.
Source: Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL)

The Transportation Sector in Chicago Economic Impact

Transportation Sector in Chicago 1998 Employment Share

Source for both charts: Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL)


1996 Chicagoland Daily Shipments Volumes by Mode

Chicagoland daily shipment volumes by mode are mainly by rail and road.

Source: Chicago Area Transportation Study (CATS), 1997

Air (1999 data)

Nationally, air freight movement is 2.5 percent of all freight movement. In 1999, Chicago O’Hare International Airport ranked 10th in the world in total cargo handled and 6th in domestic tonnage.

*Total cargo loaded + unloaded freight + mail, in metric tons.
** Percent change in relation to 1998
Source: Airports Council International (ACI)

Port of Chicago (1995 data)

The Port of Chicago, as defined by the Corps of Engineers, includes the north and south branches of the Chicago River, Lake Calumet and the Calumet River, part of which extends into Indiana, the Cal-Sag Channel and the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal as far as Lockport.




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