Chicago, Illinois Freight Shipping Quotes

Find the most experienced carriers and competitive shipping rates in Chicago with Convoy.

Freight Shipping in Chicago

Illinois moves greater values of freight than most other states in the U.S. For example, of all the U.S. states in 2017, Illinois ranked:

  • Fourth for inbound freight at $480,046 million worth
  • Third for domestic freight at $399,171 million worth
  • Third for outbound freight at $599,609 million worth

Illinois also had the third most outbound van and reefer loads as well as the seventh most outbound flatbed loads of any U.S. state in 2020.

Chicago is at the heart of this freight activity. Having been a significant distribution and transportation hub since its founding, the city has become one of the busiest shipping centers in the world. Chicago’s transportation infrastructure includes:

  • The St. Lawrence Seaway, which made the city a world port by connecting the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean
  • The Port of Chicago, which handles overland, rail, and marine freight
  • About 750 motor freight carriers operating in the metro area
  • Access to Illinois’ vast network of highways and railroads — the third-highest combined mileage in the U.S.

All in all, trucking companies in Chicago move over 50 million tons of freight per year, railroads move over 40 million tons, and airports move over one million tons.

Keep in mind that all of this activity contributes to Chicago’s lengthy travel times, which are some of the longest in the country.

Major Industries and Commercial Activity in Chicago

Major industries in Chicago include printing and publishing, manufacturing, food processing, and finance and insurance. Second in publishing only to New York, Chicago is a major producer of nationally distributed catalogs, magazines, encyclopedias, educational materials, and specialized publications.

Chicago is home to the Chicago Board of Trade, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as well as 10 Fortune 500 companies:

  • Archer Daniels Midland
  • Boeing
  • AbbVie
  • Exelon
  • Mondelez International
  • Kraft Heinz
  • McDonald’s
  • Jones Lang LaSalle
  • United Airlines Holdings
  • LKQ

Goods produced in Chicago include:

  • Telephone equipment
  • Surgical appliances
  • Musical instruments
  • Machinery
  • Metal products
  • Steel
  • Agricultural and earthmoving equipment
  • Diesel engines
  • Office machines
  • Printing presses
  • TV sets and radios
  • Chemicals
  • Auto accessories
  • Soap
  • Confections
  • Food products

The predominant crop produced in Illinois is corn, and produce season is heaviest from October to December, during which time carriers may be in higher demand.

Illinois trades its freight primarily with Indiana, Wisconsin, California, and Michigan.

How Weather Impacts Freight Shipping in Chicago

Illinois is no stranger to extreme weather events. Between 2007 and 2016, the state experienced 30 such events, including 23 severe storms, three floods, three droughts, and one hurricane.

Chicago, specifically, has seen five weather-related disasters since 2010 (two severe storms, one snow and ice storm, one flood, and one drought).

Extreme weather aside, Chicago is known for its very cold and snowy winters, with icy conditions that could impact delivery schedules. As such, it’s always best to plan ahead when scheduling shipments into or out of Chicago.

Freight Carriers in Chicago

The most common job in Illinois is truck driving, so carrier options are typically plentiful. More difficult than finding a carrier is navigating your numerous options and finding the right fit for your needs.

Convoy makes this task easier with our many industry partnerships. Within the Chicago area alone, our digital freight network includes over 75,000 trucks serving over 1,000 facilities. When it comes time to search for the right carrier, we can help you find a highly experienced trucking company and a competitive rate.

Chicago Freight Shipping Rates

Get an instant freight quote for shipments into and out of the Chicago area with Convoy today.