Cities: Skylines Cargo Hub Tips & Tricks

Ship docked at the cargo hub (Cities: Skylines)

The cargo hub from the After Dark DLC brings in ships and trains to handle your city’s imports and exports. It’s unlocked at the Colossal City milestone, and it costs ₡90,000 to build.

The Ship tab of the transport build menu / Cities: Skylines
You’ll find the Cargo Hub in the Ship tab of the transport build menu.

To make the most of the cargo hub and create a great-looking harbor, here are our tips neatly summarized:

  • Plan your location
  • Landscape and use quays
  • Create a queuing area
  • Use one-way roads
  • Build a bypass track
  • Place industry buildings nearby
  • Use cargo-themed assets for decoration

Tip #1: Plan Your Location

In order for your cargo hub to work, it needs the following things:

  • A shoreline
  • Road access
  • Ship external connection
  • Railway external connection
Your cargo hub will need an unobstructed straight path connecting it to the external ship route on the open sea / Cities: Skylines
Your cargo hub will need an unobstructed straight path connecting it to the external ship route on the open sea.

You’ll also want this cargo hub to be fairly accessible to your industry zones (whether generic industry or specialized areas), since your cargo hub will be serving them.

Ideally, the cargo hub would be near your industry areas, but if that isn’t possible (say, if your natural resources are far from the shore), then at least provide a highway connection or other quick, direct road to link them.

The main thing is to avoid having the trucks pass through any other parts of your city (such as residential or commercial zones), as they will cause congestion.

This cargo hub’s access roads lead directly onto and off the highway / Cities: Skylines
This cargo hub’s access roads lead directly onto and off the highway, without having to pass through any commercial or residential parts of the city.

Tip #2: Landscape and Use Quay Walls

Natural shorelines can be craggly, and the terrain near them very uneven.

This can make it difficult to place not only the cargo hub itself but also the roads and train tracks serving it.

Use the Level Terrain landscaping tool to create a nice flat surface. You can also use the Shift Terrain tool to ‘trim’ the shoreline into shape by lowering parts of it (right-clicking) until they’re under the water line.

Create a nice flat area with the Level Terrain tool / Cities: Skylines
Create a nice flat area with the Level Terrain tool by right clicking once on a spot of terrain with your desired elevation, then left-clicking and dragging to ‘paint’ that same elevation.
Right-click and drag with the Shift Terrain tool to sink parts of the shoreline / Cities: Skylines
Right-click and drag with the Shift Terrain tool to sink parts of the shoreline.

Using quays is another great way to further neaten up your shoreline and add realism to your harbor area.

Quays make your shoreline look even tidier / Cities: Skylines
Quays make your shoreline look even tidier.

To make building even easier, you can use the highly popular Move It mod. This allows you to easily adjust the location as well as elevation of buildings, roads, tracks, and other structures, after you’ve placed them.

It’s a lot easier than trying to get the placement exactly right the first time, especially when working with things like curved roads and train tracks.

Tip #3: Create a Queuing Area

Your cargo hub will generate heavy traffic from trucks coming in and out, so it’s a good idea to keep it off your main roads.

Instead, you’ll want to give it its own access road. Give this access road a bit of length to act as a queuing area for the trucks waiting to be served by the cargo hub.

This long access road allows plenty of room for trucks to queue if the cargo hub becomes busy / Cities: Skylines
This long access road allows plenty of room for trucks to queue if the cargo hub becomes busy.

This works as a buffer so that even if the hub gets very busy, the waiting trucks won’t cause congestion in your main road.

Tip #4: Use One-Way Roads

Another way to improve the flow of traffic is to use one-way roads in that area. This prevents trucks from crossing each other, especially as they exit the hub.

The use of one-way roads leading into and out of this cargo hub prevents trucks from getting in each other’s way / Cities: Skylines
The use of one-way roads leading into and out of this cargo hub prevents trucks from getting in each other’s way.

Tip #5: Build a Bypass Track

Apart from the trucks, your cargo hub can be busy with train traffic too.

So it’s a good idea to create a bypass track for trains that don’t need the cargo hub (such as passenger trains, or other cargo trains that are just passing through).

This means that trains being served or queuing at your cargo hub won’t hold up the trains that have no need to stop there.

The added section of track allows Train 1 to bypass the harbor area completely / Cities: Skylines
The added section of track allows Train 1 to bypass the harbor area completely, instead of having to wait for Train 2 to finish being served at the station.

Tip #6: Place Factories, Warehouses or Industry Buildings Nearby

If you’re playing with the Industries DLC, you can place factories and warehouses near the vicinity of your cargo hub for a cool industrial look.

Set the warehouses to whichever goods the factory needs so they can keep it supplied.

As a bonus, your factory can very quickly export its surplus of luxury goods since it’s so near the hub.

A furniture factory and some storage buildings from the Industries DLC / Cities: Skylines
A furniture factory and some storage buildings from the Industries DLC.

Even without the DLC, you can still create this industrial feel by zoning some generic industry along your access road. Just be careful not to zone too many, or else the trucks going in and out of those buildings might slow traffic down.

A few generic industry buildings zoned near the cargo hub / Cities: Skylines
A few generic industry buildings zoned near the cargo hub.

Tip #7: Get Cargo Yard Assets from the Steam Workshop

If you’re playing on Steam, you can find parks and props on the Steam Workshop to help complete the look, using search terms like ‘cargo’ or ‘cargo yard’.

Also, the More Beautification mod by Bloody Penguin comes with some industrial assets that you can use.

The Stacked container yard 8x6 park asset from the Steam Workshop / Cities: Skylines
The Stacked container yard 8×6 park asset from the Steam Workshop.

Liz Villegas

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Liz is a writer and photographer with a love for building and strategy games. Her spare time is often split between lifting, reading, drawing, annoying her dog Mr. Porky Butt, and squinting at stat tables on the wiki pages of whatever game she's currently playing.