Only a 17-hour haul by truck or a quick 2-hour plane ride between Chicago and Houston means that goods can easily flow between the two cities. Each have sprawling metropolitan areas in addition to their large city centers, and the interstate highways run directly from one to the other. Air, rail, and motorized freight travel well-worn pathways between Chicago and Houston, the third and fourth largest cities in America, respectively, and even port to port shipping is possible via the Mississippi River System and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The frequency of transportation between Illinois and Texas ensures competitive rates for LTL shipping in whatever mode of conveyance necessary.
Railroads, steel, and meatpacking were some of the largest industries in Chicago during its initial boom in the late 19th century. Goods were manufactured at astonishing rates in the city, and exports were the focal point of Chicago‚Äôs economy. While the city has undergone significant changes in the last century, its economy diversifying and moving into services, finance, and high tech industries, manufacturing has remained a significant‚Äîif diminished‚Äîcomponent of the regional economy. One thing that has stayed the same up to the present day is Chicago‚Äôs status as the country‚Äôs rail transportation hub. Though rail freight has shifted toward containers and intermodal shipping, the network of rail lines encircling the area have endured as a large part of the transportation and shipping economy. Expansions in air shipping capabilities and connections to the surrounding interstate highways have maintained Chicago‚Äôs position as the freight shipping giant in the Midwest.
Houston has traditionally always been an energy city. The energy industry, particularly oil, has made the Houston into the fourth most populous city in the nation, with the fourth largest city economy to go with it. All of this growth in the region is also owed in part to Houston‚Äôs prime position as a mover of goods. The Port of Houston ranks first in the country in international commerce and is the sixth largest port in the world. A lattice of interstates and local highways provide trucking routes in all directions servicing the continental U.S, Canada, and Mexico, and a significant railroad presence in the region supports the city‚Äôs freight shipping demand.
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