Michigan Coverage Area

Service Centers

Alpha Number City Phone Number
DET 030 Romulus (313) 295-6403
KAL 124 Kalkaska (231) 258-8499
SAG 194 Saginaw (810) 232-0660
GRS 196 Walker (616) 791-9455
LNG 295 Mason (517) 244-1160
ABH 349 Auburn Hills (248) 332-8164

Michigan is a major manufacturing center in the Midwest with a highly active shipping environment.  Shippers moving freight into or out of the state can travel by road, rail, water or air and can reach major transportation hubs like St. Louis, Chicago or New York City within a day’s drive. If you need transportation and logistics solutions for freight moving into or out of Michigan, ArcBest® can help. Contact us at 800-610-5544 learn about our comprehensive services and for information on booking a shipment.

Michigan Economic Profile

Michigan has a long manufacturing history and played an integral role in the birth of the automotive industry. But, over time, the state developed a more diverse economy and now relies on three main economic sectors — manufacturing, agriculture and tourism — to drive its economy.

Impact of Manufacturing

Seventeen Michigan-based companies, including two of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers, ranked on the 2017 Fortune 500 list, so it’s not surprising that automobile manufacturing is the leading producer of the state’s manufacturing sector. Aside from automobiles, manufacturers in the state also produce products such as fabricated metal products, machine parts and tools, automobile and computer parts, and sporting goods and athletic equipment. Manufacturing jobs made up 13.8 percent of the state’s workforce in 2016 and contributed nearly $94 billion of the state’s total revenue, according to research from the National Association of Manufacturers.

Agriculture and Tourism

Agriculture is another important element to the state’s economy, contributing more than $100 billion to the state annually and supporting 923,000 jobs — or about 22 percent of Michigan’s workforce, according to the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development. Michigan farmers produce asparagus, cucumbers, cherries, blueberries, soy beans and floriculture products. Dairy products, cattle, hogs and turkeys are also important commodities. The tourism industry is also vital. According to a study from the Michigan Tourism Advocacy, nearly 120 million visitors came to the state in 2016, with the industry supporting more than 221,000 jobs. Tourism generated $2.6 billion in state and local taxes in 2016, the study states.

Freight Shipping in the Great Lakes State

Because it is bordered by four of the five Great Lakes, Michigan is surrounded almost entirely by water. It’s divided into Upper and Lower peninsulas by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile channel that links to Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The two peninsulas are connected by the Mackinac Bridge, one of the world’s longest suspension bridges. The state’s location makes it imperative that a strong transportation system is in place to move freight.


As with most other states, over-the-road transportation is the most popular freight shipping method in Michigan. The state has four primary interstate highways — including Interstate 75, which is the main thoroughfare between major manufacturing centers in Detroit, Saginaw and Flint — a number of auxiliary interstate highways, and a large network of state- and county-maintained road systems. Of all freight tonnage that moved through the state in 2017, 65 percent traveled by truck, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).  


Coal, chemicals, metals, transportation equipment and lumber are the primary commodities moved by rail through Michigan. The Michigan Department of Transportation reported that rail transportation is the second most popular method of freight shipping, with rail accounting for more than 20 percent of tonnage moved a year.


Michigan has three international airports — Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and Chippewa County Airport — that handle a large volume of commodities.


With its proximity to the Great Lakes and three international border ports, water is a good means of transportation. Cargo ports handle approximately 70 million tons of freight annually, according to MDOT.