Shipping Freight To and From Atlanta: A Closer Look

Shipping to Atlanta

Peaches. Coke. OutKast. Atlanta’s exports are well known. 

Aside from the cultural influences (music, plus multiple TV and movie sets), these exports are carried on trucks to cities and homes across the country. 

To simplify all these exports, Anderson Trucking Service (ATS) has added Atlanta to one of our Van Network Lanes — a web of 18 cities where we concentrate a portion of our dry van fleet to expedite nationwide shipping. 

Our focus on the region has taught us a few lessons about what keeps the city running. In this article, you’ll learn: 

  • Key industries that influence shipping in Atlanta
  • Trucking routes around Atlanta
  • How much it costs to ship in and out of Atlanta
  • The busiest (and slowest) seasons for carriers in Atlanta
  • How to source a trucking company for shipments in and out of Atlanta

So settle back, maybe pop open a can of Georgia’s most famous beverage, and prepare to become a local shipping expert. 

Key Industries That Influence Shipping in Atlanta

An economy this large depends on a variety of industries. In fact, the city is tied (with Chicago) for the nation’s third-highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies. Major corporations headquartered in the metro area include The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, Delta Air Lines, Arby’s and more. 

While these companies keep dry vans and other trucks moving in and out of the city, they aren’t the whole story. Other local commodities include retail merchandise, household appliances and dry goods. 

One of the local nicknames is “City in a Forest” due to the abundant tree canopy. All this wood contributes to another major export: paper products and packaging materials. Dry vans are often hauling boxes full of boxes to destinations nationwide. 

Film, television, tourism and IT are also thriving local industries. While they don’t directly contribute in a significant way to the shipping landscape, the millions of people employed by these sectors consume goods that are trucked into the city. 

Of course, all these products need roads to travel on. Atlanta has spent much of the last decade improving its infrastructure to make travel more pleasant and improve local air quality. 

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Trucking Routes Around Atlanta

Atlanta is a car-heavy city, with the traffic to match. While it got its start as a railroad town, it’s now served by a complex network of both railways and highways. 

  • Interstate 285 is known as The Perimeter, marking the difference between the ITP (In The Perimeter) suburbs and the OTP (Outside The Perimeter) exurbs. 

  • Multiple interstates and highways terminate at or near The Perimeter, including 575, 675 and 985, plus state highways 400, 141 and 316. 

  • The Downtown Connector runs through the middle of the city and is infamous as one of the most congested segments of highway in the country. 

  • Spaghetti Junction, northwest of Atlanta, is a stack interchange designed to simplify traffic entering the city.

You’re likely to encounter heavy traffic any time you drive through or around the area. Working with a transportation provider who has local experience will help your freight avoid the worst of the delays. 

Other Major Trucking Hubs Near Atlanta

As a central hub for the southern U.S., Atlanta is also part of several important trucking lanes. 

  • Columbus, Ohio, is just over 500 miles away. This is likely to be an overnight trip for a driver. Early morning traffic is a consideration when shipping from Atlanta to Columbus, so a driver will plan their route to minimize its impact. 

  • The most direct route to Charlotte, North Carolina, is about 250 miles. Ideally, a driver will be able to drop off a load, pick up another one and get started on the next delivery all within one day. 

As part of an ATS Van Network Lane, we maintain a fleet of dry vans and drivers in the area. Using their local knowledge and experience with the connecting cities, we maximize this route for shippers and customers nationwide. 

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

Atlanta is a popular and cost-effective shipping city, with an abundance of freight to choose from (all those large companies and manufacturers). This makes it more attractive to drivers and means loads going into the city are usually less expensive than freight leaving the city. 

Freight coming from south of Atlanta will come with the lowest rates. Heading north, rates will be in a similar range when going to another major city like Columbus. Shipments heading west toward, for example, Charlotte, NC, will cost more.

These rate fluctuations are largely tied to load-to-truck ratios in these areas. 

Of course, it’s not just the destination that impacts the price of shipping. The price tends to fluctuate seasonally, with higher prices during the busy season.

What Are the Busiest Freight Shipping Seasons in Atlanta?

Atlanta’s abundance of consumer goods means the busiest shipping season is typically July-October — when holiday items are being delivered to stores. 

  • A temperate climate means consistent and pleasant weather year-round, preventing any concerns about snowy or icy roads.

    However, hurricane season is a factor in the area. Even if Atlanta isn’t included in the official storm, they often get high winds as part of the storm — which can cause unsafe conditions for high-profile trucks and may lead to a shutdown. 

  • As consumers and retailers recover during the first few months of the calendar year, there is also less shipping in and out of Atlanta. This is typical in the trucking industry. If you have truckloads during this season, especially truckloads that stay in the south, you’re likely to find a lower rate. 

Atlanta is nearly always guaranteed to have multiple opportunities for the next load. This means it’s always a popular destination for trucking companies. Picking the ideal transportation provider for your freight can save time, hassle and money. 

How to Find a Trucking Company in Atlanta

Despite Atlanta’s heavy traffic, it’s a popular destination for trucks and carriers. Drivers and carriers with experience in the area will be able to make the most of the city’s quirks. 

Like all Van Network Lane cities, ATS has prioritized Atlanta. We have a steady supply of drivers in the area, who know the city (many of them are based in the region). 

To get a quote for your next shipment, contact us. For more information about shipping, including specific cities, subscribe to the Learning Hub for regular email updates.

Tags: Dry Van Shipping

Katelyn Brandl

Written by Katelyn Brandl

Katelyn has been a customer service representative at ATS since 2021. In her role, she offers customers support before, during and after their shipment. She also works with colleagues to solve unique shipping challenges and save time and money for customers and drivers.

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