In Cities Skylines the industries are your main source of work for your population. Not only do your citizens need to drive to work, they also use freight trucks to import and export goods. They are one of the biggest sources for traffic issues.

Your industries also interacts with commerce. By providing your stores with local goods their profits will increase and so will your tax income!


Like residential and commerce the industrial zones have to be zoned in next to local roads. Starting an industry sector is as easy as laying down a few roads and zoning it yellow.

You can create a industrial zone by creating roads and zoning the area yellow.
Be ready for some serious freight traffic and try to create a new road towards an off-map highway so the trucks do not have to pass through your entire city.

Import/Export and goods deliveries

In Cities Skylines industrial zones have an important interaction through the game. Basically your industry will produce goods. In order to do this raw materials are required. Usually these materials are not available locally. Instead your industries will order these materials “off map” from different cities. Trucks will then enter your city and attempt to provide your industries with the necessary goods.

Once your industry has produced some goods the reverse process gets triggered. A truck will have to actually sell the goods. It will try to make a local delivery to your Commercial zones. When this is not possible it will export goods “off map” to other cities. If there are no buyers eventually the building will shut down and become abandoned.

Trucks will move goods to and from your industrial area. This can cause traffic problems!
This industry sector houses 10.000 jobs so there are a lot of trucks importing the necessary goods.


Office zones fulfill industrial demands. Meaning that when there is a high industry demand you can also choose to zone office space instead of zoning yellow industry. Although they fulfill the same demand the offices are quite different from industries. They require highly educated workers but do not have cargo deliveries. Therefore offices have a few advantages and downsides.

Offices don't need cargo pickup and delivery.

Advantages of Offices

  • Generate no pollution (not even noise)
  • Can be built directly next to Residential areas allowing your citizens to walk to work (alleviates traffic).
  • Provides your highly educated citizens with jobs

Disadvantages of Offices

  • Do not produce goods to be sold in your commercial zones or exported (lowers profit for commercial zones)
  • Fewer job spots per building meaning you need to zone more space to provide the same number of jobs
  • Require highly educated citizens as workers

Generic industries

When you zone a yellow industrial zone this will be filled with generic industries. Generic industries start out as a level 1 building with a modest amount of workers. Their level can increase to level 3 which increases tax revenue and number of job slots. To level up your industry building you will need to  provide enough services (fire, police, death care, etc).

When you zone a yellow industrial zone this will be filled with generic industries such as Aero Designs.
This level 3 Aero Designs workshop is providing jobs to 32 citizens!

Industrial specialization

Cities Skylines features industrial specializations. By creating a district you can assign one of the specialties to your district. Whereas generic industries can level from 1 to 3 the specialized industries only feature a single level. However with a maximum of 24 workers per building they are they are similar to level 2 generic industry. Each of these specializations has their own tax benefits and cost. Keep in mind that while Forest and Fertile land can be re-used but the Oil and Ore deposits are not infinite. You can run out of those resources. Generally it will take a very long to deplete them.

Overview table

Resource type Renewable Tax income
(compared to generic industry)
Pollution rate
(compared to generic industry)
(compared to generic industry)
Oil No +35% +30% Requires 15% more electricity
Ore No +20% +20% Requires 10% more electricity
Forest Yes +10% +7% Requires 7% more electricity
Fertile land Yes +10% Doesn’t pollute ground,
turns all fresh water used into waste water
Requires 25% more water

If you want to learn more about how to create industry specializations then please check this guide: Cities Skylines Guide – How to use Industrial specialization

Cargo Train Station

When you provide your industries access to a train cargo station the whole dynamic of your industry zones will change. Instead of leaving the map through the highways most of your trucks will now visit your Cargo station. Trains will then spawn to export, or import goods. This way the “off map” highways have to deal with less traffic.  A cargo train station also provides a “service” bonus meaning it can help you reach level 3 generic industry!

To help solve your traffic problem, you can build a cargo station. Trucks will drop their goods at the station to export their goods.
Look at all these trucks waiting in line to import or export their goods. This is a huge traffic relief for the nearby highway!


Cargo harbor

Just like the Train Cargo Station the Cargo Harbor allows your trucks to export or import goods, saving them a trip outside the city. Unfortunately the cargo  harbor can only be constructed on rivers with a sea trade route available. Therefore it is usually hard to keep it close to your industry.

The Cargo Harbor allows your trucks to export or import goods. The cargo  harbor can only be constructed on rivers with a sea trade route available.
Trucks import and export their goods at the Cargo Harbor.

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  • TwirlyGIrly

    Thank you for taking the time to write these guides. I just began playing yesterday, and for some reason thought “offices” were part of commercial, not industry! So you’ve really helped me out quite a bit. I really appreciate the thought you’ve put into these guides. Very helpful and informative!

  • Kereke12

    Thank you for taking the time in making this useful guide.

  • Robert Ivan Allan Perault

    awesome guide. thanks for the info