Freight railroads efficiently move myriad modern-day necessities that are produced from our nation’s bountiful woodlands.

One-third of the U.S. is forested, a sprawling 302 million hectares. So, it’s no surprise that forest products are essential to our everyday life and have nearly limitless uses: wood to build our homes; writing paper to facilitate our education system and packaging to get products to customers safely. Freight railroads efficiently move more than a million carloads of forest and paper products each year.

The movement of forest products like lumber has long been a bellwether for the American economy. Freight rail movements are largely dependent on the demand for the products railroads haul. Data indicates there is a strong correlation between freight rail lumber movements and housing starts, a critical indicator of economic strength. The U.S. housing market currently maintains the strongest home sales in a decade and shows no signs of slowing. Freight rail is uniquely positioned and committed to delivering the lumber that builds the American dream.

Freight rail is a key transportation link for pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and wood products.


Current Stats: In 2016, U.S. Class I railroads terminated 1.2 million carloads of forest products, lumber and wood, and pulp and paper products (about 4% of total U.S. rail carloads), carrying 73.6 million tons (about 4% of total U.S. terminated tons) and earning gross revenue of $4.1 billion (6.3% of total revenue).

Economic Impact: Private working forests in the U.S. generate an average of $102 billion in economic output and support 2.5 million jobs across the U.S. Specialized equipment and operating procedures make freight rail the ideal transportation partner for the forest and paper industry.

Download the Fact Sheet