A freight corridor can be described as a route along which freight transportation is moved and the necessary infrastructure to ensure the smooth movement of goods. Such corridors make transportation faster, more cost-effective, and more efficient. Freight corridors also attract economic expansion and employment opportunities. Keep reading to learn more about what an ag freight corridor is.
What Is an Ag Freight Corridor?
The vast majority of agricultural commodities are transported in trucks, by highway, for at least a portion of their journey. Other methods of transportation that may carry goods in the agricultural industry (often shortened to “ag”) include rail, barge, ocean vessel, and airplane.
Freight Movement in America
For example, the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has found that a grand total of 80 percent of the country’s domestic ag products travel along only 17 percent of America’s highway mileage. Agricultural products — including grains, fruits and vegetables, milk and dairy products, meat, livestock, and poultry — make up 27 percent of freight transportation miles.
The routes these agricultural products take are complex. Agricultural products are not simply moved from farm to retail store. Instead, they may be transported for further processing, and indeed stop at multiple intermediaries before reaching their final destination — the consumer. Many agricultural goods are intended for domestic consumption, but some are exported to other countries by means of sea vessels, trucks, or airplanes.
High Volume Routes
Ag freight corridors are the high-volume routes and accompanying infrastructure through which these products move, from agricultural companies or farmers to their end destinations. Studies into the economic impact of ag freight corridors focus on rail, water, and highway traffic.
The three major ag freight corridors in the United States are located in the North West, Great Plains, and Mississippi River Basin areas. However, a network of smaller routes paints a fuller picture.
Ag freight corridors play a vital role in the health of the global economy. These corridors facilitate the transportation of the commodity that is arguably most important — the food we eat and the products that make raising livestock and growing crops possible.
Ag Freight Corridors – The Future
As the population rises and the demand for agricultural products continues to soar, studying the functioning of existing and emerging ag freight corridors is crucial. For example, in the United States, ag freight volumes have been projected to rise by 25 percent over the coming two decades.
Can our ag freight corridors keep up with this increasing demand? The answer is clear — not without continued work to keep the infrastructure up to date, including by improving highways, railways, and waterways as well as building accompanying logistics infrastructure. Ensuring that ag freight corridors can meet growing demands is an undertaking of epic proportions. That explains why freight volumes and movements are studied at the Federal and State levels and complex computer models are used to predict the needs of the logistics industry in the coming years.
Ag freight corridors can be improved by updating existing infrastructure (such as bridges, intersections, and railways), adding expansions to the infrastructure, and reconstructing failing infrastructure where necessary.
Additional information: The Importance of Highways to U.S. Agriculture – US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
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