Ohio has the nation’s seventh-largest road system with more than 123,000 miles of roads. “We’re blessed, especially in this part of the state, to have a good highway system and access to rivers and rails,” said Charlotte Keim, president of the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce. “And we’re also located within 500 miles of half of the U.S. population…You can get products to half the country within a day’s drive in most cases.”

According to the Ohio Department of Development, trucking accounts for 78 percent of all shipping in Ohio.

“Everything has to go by truck at some point,” R. Gessel,  manager of Iddings Trucking in Marietta, said. Everything from food to clothing to fuel and building supplies were on a truck at some point before a consumer purchased the items.

“A lot of local trucking is dedicated to supporting the local industry,” he said. “We move a lot of coal for the power plants and a lot of raw materials for the metal and chemical companies…Then we take their finished products to wherever they need to go.”

According to the census report, aggregates, like sand and gravel account for almost 20 percent of the total weight of all goods moved around Ohio in 2007. Food accounted for about 8 percent of the total value of all items shipped in 2007. Just less than $1 billion of coal was moved across the state in 2007, along with $800,000 million in metals.

J. Starner, president of Merchants Five Star Inc. said he anticipates growth in the trucking industry as oil and gas exploration in the region has increased in recent months.

“There is a lot more demand for hauling sand, water, oil and byproducts,” he said. “It’s going to create a lot of jobs for the trucking industry, which is pretty large already. If you added up all the truck driving jobs in Washington County and treated it as one job segment, I would bet it would be near the top in terms of employment.” Article Source