Top Cities for Warehousing Service Companies in Illinois

bigstock-blue-gradient-illinois-map-us-2311144-224x300Illinois is a natural transportation hub, with a location in the Midwest and an extensive multi-modal transportation system including land, water, and air tranport facilities. Access to the Contiguous United States is made easy by the central location. Illinois is an ideal location for a warehousing services company.

In Illinois, companies have access to one of the most efficient multi-modal transportation systems in the country. Ground shipping is made possible by a network of highways, which includes interstates I-80 and I-90, and I-70. There are also 15,989 miles of state highways and more than 7,200 trucking establishments within Illinois.

Freight transport by rail is made possible by a system that connects to the Contiguous United States, Canada and Mexico. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, “Illinois is at the center of the nation’s rail network. It has a comprehensive rail network consisting of approximately 9,982 miles of railroad tracks, 7,792 of which are operated by Class I railroads – primarily BNSF Railway and the Union Pacific Railroad. Class I railroads are large freight companies, Class II and Class III are small regional railroad companies. The remaining 2,190 miles of track are operated by Class III short line or regional railroads. A total of 41 railroads currently operate in Illinois.”

Illinois also has 1,095 miles of navigable waterways, which provide connections to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The port of Chicago has terminals that handle ocean and lake vessels as well as barges.

Illinois also has over 100 public and private airports. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport consistently ranks among the top 10 airports in North America and in the top 25 of the world in terms of its annual air cargo, with a total of 1.5 million tons. Goods that move through O’Hare can reach over 200 cities non-stop.

Illinois plays a vital role in the transportation of goods across the country and internationally. The extensive system of roadways, railways, waterways and airports make it a great location for warehousing, transportation and business. Several cities stand out as top locations for warehousing services companies in Illinois including Chicago, Springfield and Rockford.


Chicago sits along Lake Michigan. The city is a hub for finance, commerce, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network rated Chicago as an alpha global city. According to 2012 estimates, Chicago has the third largest gross metropolitan product in the United States at about $547 billion. The city is also a center for culture and a popular tourist destination.

Chicago is vital to global distribution. It is the third-largest inter-modal port in the world. There are two international airports, O’Hare International Airport and Chicago Midway International Airport. Chicago also has the largest number of U.S. highways and railroad freight lines. Seven main interstate highways run through the city including I-80, I-88, I-90, I-190, I-290 and I-294. Six of the seven Class I railroads in the U.S. meet in Chicago. According to U.S. Department of Transportation, the volume of imported and exported goods transported via rail to, from, or through Chicago is forecast to increase nearly 150 percent between 2010 and 2040.

The Port of Chicago has several major facilities. Iroquois Landing Lakefront Terminal includes 100 acres of warehouses and facilities on Lake Michigan with over 8,390,000 square feet of storage. Lake Calumet terminal includes three transit sheds totaling over 315,000 square feet adjacent to 3,000 linear feet of ship and barge berthing. The storage facilities along Lake Calumet can accommodate 14 million bushels of gains and 800,000 barrels of liquid. The Illinois International Port district also operates Foreign trade zone No. 22, which extends 60 miles from Chicago’s city limits.


Springfield is the capital of Illinois; it is centrally located in the state. Forbes ranks Springfield number one in Cost of Business. The cost of living is also well below the national average. Major industries in the area are healthcare, education and technology. Springfield is a great option for a low-cost location that also has access to ground and rail freight shipping. Interstates in the area include I-55, which runs from north to south and I-72, which runs from east to west. Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport serves the city.


Rockford is the largest city in Illinois outside of the Chicago metropolitan area. Also, know as Forest City, Rockford is known for various venues of cultural or historical significance, including Anderson Japanese Gardens, Klehm Arboretum, Tinker Swiss Cottage, the BMO Harris Bank Center, the Coronado Theatre, the Laurent House, and the Burpee Museum of Natural History. Major industries in the area include technology and health sciences. The city also has low cost of doing business and low cost of living. Several interstates and highways including I-90, I-39 and U.S. Route 20 aid ground freight. The Chicago Rockford International Airport serves the area. The airport is currently home to United Parcel Service’s second largest air hub. It is ranked as the twenty-second largest cargo airport in the nation when measured by landed weight. Freight rail is served by Rockford is served by several different railroad lines including the Union Pacific, the Canadian National, the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern (Canadian Pacific), and the Illinois Railway.

Illinois as a Warehousing Hub

Illinois has several advantages as a warehousing services hub. The central location makes transportation of goods to the rest of the Contiguous United States easy and allows access to Canada and Mexico. Chicago is a center for industry and transportation, giving companies access to world-class facilities. The extensive multi-modal transportation networks give companies options. Many cities have low costs for business and great tax incentives. Contact us today for more information on the best locations for warehousing services companies.