Freight Shipping To and From Dallas, TX: A Closer Look

Downtown Dallas Texas Skyline

Dallas. Home of the Cowboys, the Mavericks, the Rangers, and 6.5 million people. The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area is one of the largest in Texas, not to mention the entire U.S.

The northern tip of the Texas Triangle (with Houston and San Antonio), Dallas is at the heart of several major transportation routes. It’s also part of the ATS Van Network Lanes, a web of 18 cities where a significant portion of our dry van fleet is located. 

With years of experience moving freight (open-deck, heavy haul, LTL, dry van, etc.) into and out of Dallas, Anderson Trucking Service (ATS) has learned a lot about navigating through the area. 

It’s a pivotal city, but it’s not always the easiest to access. 

In this article, you’ll learn some of the nuances of the area and what makes Dallas a critical shipping city. 

Key Industries That Influence Shipping in Dallas

Dallas was built at the convergence of several railroads — transportation has always been important to the city. Farming, stockyards and cotton production were also central to the city’s establishment. 

Today, the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metropolitan area is home to 23 Fortune 500 companies, with 11 within Dallas city limits. Major Dallas industries include defense, financial services, information technology, telecommunications and transportation. 

Large employers headquartered in Dallas include. . . 

  • AT&T 
  • Energy Transfer Equity
  • CBRE
  • Tenet Healthcare
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Jacobs Engineering
  • HollyFrontier
  • Dean Foods
  • JC Penny
  • Snapple
  • Kimberly-Clark
  • American Airlines 

Dallas is also a shopping hub, with more shopping centers per capita than any other city. 

All these businesses and all this shopping requires a steady supply of goods in and out of the city. Goods that travel on… trucks!

Trucking Routes Around Dallas, Texas

Dallas, like other major cities, features a hub-and-spoke design, with several highways running through and around the city. Fort Worth also has a hub and spoke network, ringed by Interstate 820, a loop of I-20. 

The DFW metroplex has the second-largest number of freeway miles per capita in the nation (behind Kansas City). Some of the highlights include: 

  • The north-south highway I-35 runs between the two cities. Just south of DFW, it splits into 1-35 E on the Dallas side and I-35W on the Fort Worth side, before the two sides rejoin into one I-35 north of the city. I-35 runs nearly border-to-border, starting a few miles north of the Mexican border and ending in northern Minnesota (right below Canada). 

  • I-45 is the nation’s shortest highway, connecting Dallas to Houston and the Gulf of Mexico. North of the metro, the interstate merges with US 75. 

  • Dallas and Fort Worth are connected by two main roads: I-30 and I-20. Depending on the time of day, it can take as little as 30 minutes or as much as an hour to get between the two city centers. I-30 terminates west of Fort Worth, while I-20 crosses most of the state and into Louisiana. 

DFW is the fourth-largest metro area in the nation, which means roads are consistently busy with commuters and visitors. Surrounded by bedroom communities, the area is especially busy during typical commuter hours … and when one of the city’s many major league sports teams has a home game. 

When planning a shipment in or out of the city, be sure to schedule additional time for traffic jams, especially when shipping to one of Texas’ other large metro areas. 

Dallas City Limits Skyscrapers Twisting Roads

Other Major Trucking Hubs Near Dallas

Dallas is the northern tip of the Texas Triangle, and the metro area includes smaller cities like Plano and Arlington. It’s also the gateway to other major shipping cities in Texas. 

  • Houston is just under 250 miles away, and the Port of Houston is about 20 miles farther. During non-commuter hours it may be possible for a truck driver to make this trip in one day, but remember that time spent sitting in traffic is time that counts toward the maximum Hours of Service.

  • San Antonio is nearly 300 miles away. Along that lane, the driver will pass Austin and Waco. Steady traffic along this route makes it difficult to make the trip in one day, though it is possible with careful timing. 

There’s no shortage of freight traveling into and out of Dallas. It’s positioned as the northernmost metro area of Texas. Its population and position make it a central shipping hub. 

How Much Does It Cost to Ship Freight To and From Dallas?

Dallas’ proximity to major cities north and south of it helps hold shipping costs in and out of the city to a reasonable price. Drivers want to return to a city where they know they can easily find their next load. This often makes shipping to Dallas a cost-effective solution. 

For example, shipping from Houston to Dallas can often cost 50 percent less than shipping from Dallas to Houston. 

ATS maintains a steady presence in Dallas and throughout the Texas Triangle. This helps shippers find a truck quickly, and because we have drivers based in the area it keeps prices low as local drivers can have more home time.

What Are the Busiest Freight Shipping Seasons in Dallas? 

Dallas tends to follow industry trends, where the busiest time of year is before the holiday season (July through October), while the period of January through March is the slowest. 

  • Summer is a busy time in the trucking industry, as seasonal produce is harvested and transported to consumers. Expect trucks to be consistently busy, especially dry vans and reefers.

    In a hot city like Dallas, it’s important to prepare for summer shipping. When the temperature rises over 100 degrees, the driver needs air conditioning to stay safe. If the A/C unit in the truck fails, expect a short delay while it is repaired.

    The hustle and bustle of summer shipping often means higher prices, as there is increased competition for truck space. While compared to others Dallas will be less expensive as a freight destination, expect the price to fluctuate throughout the year.

  • Dallas is fairly immune to the dangers of winter weather, however, remember that trucks coming from the north will still be subject to delays due to ice and snow. On the rare occasion that cities in Texas are hit with a winter storm, expect the area to shut down completely. It’s a rare event, but it does happen. 

No matter the season, planning and being flexible will always benefit you when it comes to arranging freight shipments. 

ATS Has Capacity in Dallas!

Like most major metro areas, Dallas-Fort Worth is served by multiple trucking companies. Because of the easy availability of outbound freight and proximity to other major cities, cargo going into Dallas will always be attractive to trucking companies and their drivers. 

Companies with a history in this area will understand how to navigate through the city as well as the best routes and times to travel. As a part of the Van Network Lanes, ATS maintains a network of drivers in and around the area. 

Check out the ATS Learning Hub for more trucking industry content and information. If you’re ready to ask questions about your next freight shipment, contact the ATS team to get started.

Derik Gertken

Written by Derik Gertken

Derik's journey with ATS began in early 2015 when he joined the team as a National Sales Representative. Since that time, Derik's dedication to helping his customers, as well as his co-workers, meet their goals has been unmatched. Today, Derik serves as the Director of Sales for ATS Inc. where he helps ATS' vans sales teams develop partnerships with customers that extend beyond transactional business relationships.

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