Chattanooga, TN: a growing freight + logistics hub

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

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