Rhode Island Coverage Area

Service Centers

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ArcBest® has service centers strategically located throughout the United States, which enables us to provide supply chain solutions across the globe. If you need freight shipped in or out of Rhode Island or need logistics solutions for your goods, ArcBest can provide the services you need. Call 800-610-5544 to get started.


Rhode Island became the first of the original Thirteen Colonies to renounce its allegiance to King George III of England on May 4, 1776. It was also the fourth among the newly sovereign states to ratify the Articles of Confederation in 1778. However, Rhode Island refused to participate in creating the U.S. Constitution, and was the last of the original 13 states to ratify it.

In the 19th century, Rhode Island was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution and the establishment of power-driven textile mills. As industrialization increased, the state continued to expand. Immigrants looking for job opportunities assimilated into the state’s industrial structure. It remains an important aspect of the state’s economy today.

Geography and Population

At 1,545 square miles, Rhode Island is the smallest of all 50 states. It measures about 48 miles long and 37 miles wide. Despite its small area, the state boasts over 400 miles of coastline and is also known as the “Ocean State.” It ranks 43 out of 50 in terms of population size, with 1.06 million people calling Rhode Island home. The state has several large bays and inlets that amount to about 14 percent of its total area, while the rest of the area is mainly flat. Rhode Island’s highest natural point is Jerimoth Hill, which comes in at just 812 feet above sea level.

Transportation System

Due to its small size, Rhode Island has the nation’s second smallest transportation system. Only 12,915 miles of roadway cover the state. Regardless, the freight industry is thriving. That’s because very few items purchased in Rhode Island or the surrounding region are made or grown locally. Residents and businesses depend on freight transportation for the vast majority of goods, including what they eat, wear and use on a daily basis. It also means the transportation system largely dictates the economic vitality of the state and region.

Top Economic Sectors

Rhode Island has a small but flourishing economy, with several industries contributing financially. In 2017, the largest economic sector was the financial services industry, accounting for more than 26 percent of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP). The second-largest industry was government-related services, accounting for more than 13 percent of the state’s GDP. Other industries important to the state are:


Thanks to scenic beaches, historic landmarks and a thriving arts, food and cultural scene, Rhode Island’s travel and tourism industry is booming. The industry provides about $5.2 billion annually to the GDP and supports employment for 41,000 workers.


Though the state is small, manufacturers do have a presence. In 2015, a total of 1,363 manufacturing firms were located in the state, and as of 2016, the industry contributed nearly $4.6 billion to the Rhode Island economy. Manufacturing provides jobs to about 41,600 Rhode Island workers, or 8.5 percent of the state’s workforce. Items like chemical products, fabricated metal parts, aerospace equipment, and computers and electronics are among the state’s top manufactured goods.