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July 23 -- The Census Bureau invites the public to comment by September 23, 2021 on the proposed Commodity Flow Survey (CFS), a component of the 2022 Economic Census. [Census provided AEA with draft CFS materials on September 10, 2021.]
 
The Commodity Flow Survey, a component of the 2022 Economic Census, is the only comprehensive and publicly available source of multimodal, system-wide data on the volume and pattern of goods movements in the United States. The Commodity Flow Survey is conducted in partnership with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, U.S. Department of Transportation.
 
The Commodity Flow Survey data are used by policy makers and transportation planners in various federal, state, and local agencies to assess the demand for transportation facilities and services, energy use, safety risks, and environmental concerns. Additionally, business owners, private researchers, and analysts use the Commodity Flow Survey 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 the needs for associated infrastructure and equipment.

The survey provides data on the movement of commodities in the United States from their origin to destination. The survey produces summary statistics on value, tons, ton-miles and average miles by commodity, industry, and mode of transportation. The Census Bureau will publish these shipment characteristics for the nation, census regions and divisions, states, and CFS defined geographical areas.

Primary strategies for reducing respondent burden in the Commodity Flow Survey include: Employing a stratified random sample of business establishments, requesting data on a limited sample of shipment records from each establishment with the option to provide all shipments in the week, accepting estimates of shipping activity, applying machine learning to code products based on their descriptions, providing electronic reporting and including the option for consolidated reporting of multiple locations through a single login for larger companies.
 
The Commodity Flow Survey will be conducted on a sample of business establishments classified in mining, manufacturing, wholesale, and select retail and services industries, as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The survey will also cover auxiliary establishments (i.e., warehouses and managing offices) of multi-establishment companies. Each selected establishment will be surveyed four times, once during each calendar quarter of 2022. Quarters one and four will include a supplement with questions on hazardous materials packaging for companies that ship hazardous materials. Each questionnaire will ask the establishment to report data for up to 100 shipments for a predetermined reporting week. These data will include the value, net weight, commodity, and origin and destination of each selected shipment. Survey responses will be collected electronically, and respondents will have the option to provide all shipments for the reporting week instead of sampling shipments.
 
BTS CFS website:  https://www.bts.gov/cfs   
Census CFS website: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/cfs.html
Draft 2022 CFS data collection instruments and instructions [technical documentation not currently available]: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/dql45mca3not4dw/AABOrELc5Ukn_H7typ8JDsP4a?dl=0
FR notice inviting public comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/07/23/2021-15681/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-to-the-office-of-management-and-budget-omb-for
 
Point of contact: Berin Linfors, Chief, Commodity Flow Branch, U.S. Census Bureau  O: 301-763-5366 Berin.Linfors@census.gov

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