Efficient Transport

Centrally located in the United States, Illinois is uniquely positioned to efficiently move whole soybeans and soy products around the country and export them to customers around the world.

This map shows how containers or bulk shipments from Illinois move throughout the country. Containers and bulk shipments of soy from Illinois can move through the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, California and even the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Efficient Transport
  • The blue lines show key rivers that take barge loads of soybeans to the Gulf of Mexico. Illinois has 64 grain elevators along 1,770 kilometers of navigable waterways. These rivers provide a unique navigable connection from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The gray lines represent railroads. All seven Class I freight lines in North America operate in Illinois on more than 11,200 kilometers of rail track, connecting to the rest of the 204,000-kilometer network.
  • The blue squares mark primary ports. Rivers and railroads move soy from Illinois to customers and select ports around the country. And from those ports, Illinois soy can be bought around the world.

Containerized shipping uses standard freight containers that are loaded and sealed, then transferred onto ships, trains and trucks with the goods secure throughout the transport. Illinois exports about 8% of its soybeans in containers via 22 regularly operating loading facilities.