Chattanooga, TN: a growing freight + logistics hub


Last year, FreightWaves was the fastest-growing company in Tennessee. | Photo by NOOGAtoday

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Forbes called us the “Silicon Valley of Trucking,” we’ve been told time and again that we’re in the heart of “freight alley,” and last year, the majority of Chattanooga’s fastest-growing companies were in the freight + logistics industry.

For those uninvolved in the industry, all of this means… well, it means pretty much nothing to you. Even so, it does impact you if you’re a Chattanoogan. How? We’re here to break it down.

First up: What is freight + logistics?

The terms freight + logistics management are both linked to the transportation industry — basically, they’re both related to the movement of goods via various modes of transportation.

  • Freight management is the process of carefully + strategically moving freight (goods transported in bulk). It works to ensure a cost-effective and smooth transportation.
  • Logistics management is more comprehensive — it oversees the obtainment, storage, and transportation of goods to the final destination. Freight management is a smaller subset of overall logistics management.

Not all of Chattanooga’s logistics companies are doing exactly this, though — FreightWaves, for instance, is on the data side of logistics, and Reliance Partners provides insurance to these trucking and logistics companies. In other words, being a logistics hub doesn’t mean that we just move freight all the time — it means we’re involved in the whole realm.

What does this mean?

  • Having so many successful companies in our city means hundreds of job opportunities — in fact, Chattanooga State recently expanded its logistics training program for this very reason, and hopes to only grow from here.
  • The industry has high potential for upward growth + often doesn’t require higher education. According to FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller, there are several people in the industry who make high, six-figure salaries and have never gone to college — it’s kind of a dream job, and again, we’ve got lots of ‘em.
  • Having multiple large, successful employers like these locally = money funneled back into the community.
  • We’re here for the “just plain cool” factor, too — as the supply chain shifts and transportation networks are rewritten (as Fuller anticipates), Chattanooga will be at the forefront + play a key role in that innovation.
  • Having 50+ successful logistics companies in town makes it easy to attract folks in the industry to move to Chattanoogaaka, as the industry continues to grow, so could the city’s population.
  • Logistics hubs also attract manufacturers + distribution companies.

“If you didn’t have this, many businesses wouldn’t exist... Transportation is a core feature of not only the economy, but of civilization. We play a critical role in the global economy.” Craig Fuller, FreightWaves Founder + CEO