Ohio has railroad connections to all parts of the United States and an excellent state highway system connecting with the interstate highway system. Its ports on Lake Erie and the Ohio River make the state accessible to ships of all nations. Early canals gave impetus to industrial development for processing agricultural raw materials. With the coming of the railroads, which often ran parallel to the canals, the waterways fell into disuse. However, ports along Lake Erie and the Ohio River continue to be important shipping centers for both manufactured products and raw materials. Cleveland, Ashtabula, and Toledo harbors lead the state in import tonnage. The major import is iron ore from the upper Great Lakes and foreign nations, especially Canada.
Conneaut, Toledo, Ashtabula, and Sandusky are the leading export ports, and Toledo is one of the world’s biggest coal ports. Manufactured goods and bulk freight, especially coal, are hauled on the Ohio River. Cincinnati is the major transshipment port, especially of coal, in the state.
Ohio has 8,335 km (5,179 mi) of railroad. It is served by most of the major eastern railroads as well as some from the South. The main products originating in Ohio and transported by rail are metallic ores (15 percent of total freight hauled) and primary metals (16 percent). Ohio has an extensive system of state and federal highways, with 2,533 km (1,574 mi) of national interstate highways.
The Ohio Turnpike, part of the national interstate highway system, extends across northern Ohio and connects with the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the Indiana Turnpike. By 2007 Ohio had 201,425 km (125,160 mi) of public highways, about one-fourth of them in urban areas.
Ohio has 13 airports, most of them privately owned. Of the airports served by commercial airlines, those in Cleveland and Columbus are the busiest, between them serving more than 8 million passengers annually in the late 1990s. Busier still is the airport serving Cincinnati, located across the state line from the city in Kentucky. Many major gas and oil pipelines, including the Big Inch and the Little Inch, cross Ohio. Several major oil lines converge in Lima, the oil pipeline center of the state.
Domestic and foreign trade are important to Ohio. Agricultural and manufactured products are shipped to all parts of the state and nation. Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati are the major trade centers for the state. Many other communities are distributing centers for their own areas.
Ohio’s major exports are nonelectrical machinery, transportation equipment, fabricated metals, iron and steel, and rubber products. Cleveland, Lorain, and Ashtabula are the major ports for these items, although many of them are shipped by rail to eastern seaboard ports. Toledo is the chief port from which coal and grain are shipped to Canada and to other ports in the United States. "Ohio" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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