Freight and Goods Movement Plan, 2022


The Rhode Island Statewide Freight & Goods Movement Plan is the culmination of extensive staff work, public outreach with key stakeholders, including members of the Rhode Island Freight Advisory Committee, and the collection and technical analysis of freight movement data throughout the state. The Statewide Freight & Goods Movement Plan, 2022 identifies measures to better coordinate and effectively utilize all the state’s transportation resources to support the efficient movement of goods. The plan also outlines immediate and long-range strategies for multi-modal freight transportation investments through the year 2040. 

Key findings of the Statewide Freight & Goods Movement Plan, 2022 are as follows:

  • The Covid-19 Pandemic caused an unprecedented near 70% drop in air passenger volumes in 2020, but also an unexpected 12% increase in air cargo volume
  • 2020 saw the first decline in auto imports at the Port of Davisville in many years. Overall, auto imports were down 27% in 2020 at the Port of Davisville and the continued supply chain disruptions relating to the semi-conductor chip shortage continues to limit the number of available automobile imports from suppliers to ship to Davisville.
  • The Covid-19 Pandemic has compounded the existing truck parking shortage and the truck driver shortage in Rhode Island and across the greater New England region.
  • Despite the impacts of Covid-19, freight volume is expected to grow significantly in the years ahead with growth from a baseline of 53 million tons and $65 Billion in value of freight moving to, from, through and within Rhode Island in 2021 to 74 million tons and $121 Billion in value of freight moving to, from, through and within Rhode Island in 2050.

A list of priority freight infrastructure projects was developed to guide the investment in projects that would improve the efficiency of the intermodal freight network and enhance operations. A number of these projects have been identified for funding in the FFY 2022-2031 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) or are in the design process. Unfunded projects are continually reassessed as part of Rhode Island’s freight and STIP planning process.

Freight Working Group comprised of municipal representatives, local universities, state government officials, port officials, environmental advocacy groups, freight advocacy groups, logistics experts, and industry representatives assisted the Division of Statewide Planning in the development of the 2022 Freight Plan update. Public meetings of the Freight Advisory Committee were held throughout the plan update process. Perspectives from both public and private stakeholders informed the Plan on challenges related to both the supply and demand for freight movements in Rhode Island.  Completion of the Freight Plan provides Rhode Island with opportunities to access additional federal transportation funds for freight-related projects, such as improvements to its highways, rail system, and ports. 

2022 Rhode Island Freight and Goods Movement Plan