I have several industries complaining now.

  • We need somewhere to ship our freight
  • Need to ship, going out of business

I have built a Trade Depot and added several Freight Shipping Warehouses. Some of them seems to be used (fills up with boxes), but there's lots of free space.

How does freight shipping work really? What am I missing? How do I stop the complaints?

  • I want to say it's by zoning commercial.
    – TZHX
    Mar 10, 2013 at 13:25
  • But there's no commercial demand?
    – Svish
    Mar 10, 2013 at 14:05
  • Maybe you don't have enough residential? Residential buys from Commercial, Commercial buys from Industrial. If one gets full they stop buying. Make sure your commercial is close to residential. Mar 10, 2013 at 15:03
  • Don't zone more commercial for this. gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/108069/… I have been puzzling about industry that doesn't ship, while there are available shipping orders. I have a theory involving shipping truck respawn rates.
    – Amy B
    Mar 10, 2013 at 15:41

5 Answers 5


Freight Delivery Truck Respawn

Each industrial building gets its own truck to deliver freight. The truck will locate nearby available orders and attempt delivery. Delivery may involve multiple buildings. All the freight on the truck must be delivered before the return trip starts.

If the truck returns from delivery quickly, it will spawn once per hour - each industrial building has its own timer. This way you get 24 truck deliveries per day.

If the truck is delayed, does not return in one hour (before the next truck would spawn... then the next truck doesn't spawn. The building resets the clock for another hour. This can happen when the gets stuck in traffic, or its freight shipment is far away. In this case, you get less than 24 truck deliveries per day.

For example: if a truck takes 2.5 hours to return, the next truck will spawn in 0.5 hour. The building keeps the timer. If this happens consistently to the same building, you'll get 8 truck shipments per day.

If your city suffers complete gridlock, you may get down to 2 truck shipments per day.

Solving the problem

If you switch to industry view, and you observe an industry building which never hits 0 freight (empty yellow bar) - then you have identified a building that really needs better freight shipping. Either solve the traffic jams, or place a freight accepting building close to the industry. Watch the truck before you try to solve the problem.

Freight accepting buildings include commercial buildings, trade depot with freight attachment, trade port with freight attachment, many service buildings (power, sewage), and the road out of the city (although I haven't seen that last one accept freight yet).

  • 1
    It is extremely difficult to say how many shipments per day is the minimum to keep freight at zero. If the truck is stuck in traffic, then perhaps the workers are too, which means there is less freight being made to ship.
    – Amy B
    Mar 15, 2013 at 0:25
  • Will municipal airport accept freight? Mar 15, 2013 at 14:52
  • Airport accepts freight same as a freight warehouse. Also like a warehouse - airports do not redistribute freight. Nothing does.
    – Amy B
    Nov 29, 2013 at 17:13
  • Does this answer work for simcity2013?
    – Strategem
    Mar 16, 2015 at 11:00
  • @Strategem yes, simcity2013 is tagged as [simcity] on this site.
    – Amy B
    Mar 17, 2015 at 1:49

Besides zoning more commercial, the intended solution is to build nearby Trade Depots (Specialization: Trade). Airports can be modified to accept freight as well.

Unfortunately, as of Patch 1.4, industrial buildings will often ignore Trade Depots, even if they are less than a block away. Sometimes they will drive several blocks to get to a Trade Depot, so it appears to be a bug in however they search.


I am not entirely sure, but once I added a Trade Depot my industry seemed a lot happier. I didn't get any more "can't find buyers for my freight" messages and I didn't get any more abandoned industry buildings. So I think having the Trade Depot offsets for commercial not having enough buying power for what industry is producing.


Here is what I think know.

  • Goods are shipped from industrial buildings to commercial buildings.
  • If commercial is full (no demand) then industrial buildings will accumulate goods.
    • If a industrial building becomes full, then it stops working (bad).
    • Eventually the industrial building will close down.
  • If you add a trade depot then industrial buildings can ship excess goods ("freight") to the trade depot.

What I do not know/understand.

  • Why do industrial buildings not ship excess freight to one of multiple open trade depots?
    • The trade depots have open freight space.
    • The trade depots are "close" to the industrial buildings in question.
    • The trade depots are connected to the industrial buildings via high density streets.
    • There are no major traffic jams between the two building types.

Open the factory map/layer and you'll see yellow and blue delivery trucks moving about (follow them to inspect what they do).

Factories also have yellow bars showing freight available for shipment. If you have enough commercial buildings plus trade depots/ports there should be very little to no freight built up in the factories.

The trade depot shouldn't be used for storage, if it builds up it means demand is too low for the produce of your industry. To add demand you can add more commercial buildings or add more freight storage in depot/port/airport.

Depot freight storage functions as a global demand or in other words commercial buildings outside your city. The more storage you add the more commercial volume of demand from the outside world for your products.

For resources depots function as storage to be traded later, not so with freight. With freight depot, storage functions as a way to add commercial demand for industry products, like building more commercial buildings.

Imagine a low wealth city with lots of industry, the workers themselves cannot afford buying that much from local industry, so have to ship to commercial buildings outside their city. In order to do this demand from the outside world has to be created, which is what you do when you add freight storage in depots/ports.

I get this message about nowhere to ship freight even though there is no freight built up in the factories (no yellow bars) and my advisor says freight is doing great! So it's a bug, you need to watch the factory layer and build depots or commercial buildings to create demand to soak up the yellow bars.

If you see no yellow bars and no freight built up in depots you're doing great and should see strong profit and demand for workers at your factories.

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