Houston boosts an amazing transportation infrastructure: A vast network of air services, rail connections and interstate highways linking Houston to a global marketplace.
The Houston Airport System ranks fourth in the country and sixth globally for multi-airport systems. Cargo agents, freight forwarders and logistics managers can enjoy the benefits of one of the world's finest air cargo facilities at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). The airport has become one of the busiest international cargo gateways.
Honored in 2005, 2006 & 2007, the Houston Airport System is a three time recipient of the Air Cargo Excellence Award, and the cargo facility has the capacity to handle perishables, oilfield equipment, computers, auto parts and other vital shipments safely and efficiently. IAH offers a new $180 million air cargo distribution center and improved runways, taxiways and ground access to provide quicker movement of pallets and crates.
Besides moving the freight, state-of-the-art document handling systems streamline the shipping process and provide real-time tracking. Cargo carriers experience little or no wait at IAH. Advanced computer technology helps U.S. Customs clear cargo while the cargo is still in the air, reducing red tape, speeding up shipment delivery and ultimately, saving shippers money. For cargo shippers who have not already pre-cleared their cargo before arrival, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Customs teams are available to inspect freight.
More than just a part of American romance and history, the trains are a vital part of cargo transportation in and out of Houston. More than 700,000 rail cars pass through the region annually, carrying a wide range of products, from processed foods to plastics to a score of other manufactured goods. One of the largest products shipped out of Houston in Hazmat tanker cars are various chemical products from Houston's large chemical manufacturing section. Four major rail systems serve Houston and its port. These include Sante Fe, Union Pacific-Missouri Pacific, Burlington, Northern and Southern Pacific.
Houston has 575.4 miles of highways and expressways connecting to the continental US, Mexico, and Canada on Interstate highways, with over 1,100 trucking companies moving goods along them every day. Trucking is considered a good U.S. economic indicator because 70 percent of all manufactured and retail tonnage in the U.S. is hauled by domestic trucks. The American Trucking Association projects a rise in the market share of tonnage shipped by truck due to above-average growth in key commodities typically shipped by truck and the ability of trucking to deliver on time. While the rising cost of fuel and a shortage of qualified drivers has had a negative impact on trucking over the last two years, things seem to be stabilizing with the stabilizing of fuel costs, and the thriving trucking businesses in Houston are a major factor in keeping Houston goods moving.