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June 29, 2018 12:30 PM, EDT
CSX to Open Hub in Eastern North Carolina
CSX worker (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

North Carolina Department of Transportation officials announced June 28 that they have reached an agreement with CSX Corp. to build a new intermodal transportation facility in Edgecombe County.

Edgecombe County, located 70 miles east of Raleigh, is nestled beside Interstate 95 and U.S Route 64. According to a press release issued by NCDOT, the hub will facilitate commerce and boost economic growth.

“This facility will make Eastern North Carolina even more attractive to businesses looking to grow by offering a logistical solution to industry shipping challenges,” NCDOT Secretary Jim Trogdon said in the release. “We are pleased to help bring this intermodal facility to Eastern North Carolina.”

The facility, which will be known as the Carolina Connector, will be built adjacent to the CSX mainline and will receive a $118 million investment from NCDOT for development and construction. The agency’s economic impact study, conducted in early June, revealed that the facility will create 1,300 jobs.

Development work on the 330-acre site will commence once a contract is finalized, and the project is scheduled for completion in 2020.

This project is not the first time CSX has considered establishing a facility in Edgecombe County. The company initially planned to build a hub-and-spoke facility, which functions as a centralized distribution system, in the area. Those plans were put on hold in November 2017 when the company re-evaluated its long-term business model.

According to the press release, NCDOT officials stayed in contact with CSX executives to ensure that North Carolina remained in consideration for a potential hub site. Rather than a hub-and-spoke system, the Carolina Connector will be a traditional intermodal site. Trucks will be able to traverse the facility to bring containers to trains.

The Carolina Connector has received support from the Carolinas Gateway Partnership, a public-private agency composed of 18 municipalities that aims to increase economic development in the region.

“Getting products to the customer is paramount to any business’ success,” Carolinas Gateway Partnership President Norris Tolson said. “We at the Carolina Gateway Partnership are pleased that the CSX intermodal site will provide another vital link in the logistics solutions offered for our customer base in the Twin Counties and all of Eastern North Carolina. Edgecombe and Nash counties will now truly be a gateway to markets throughout the eastern part of the U.S.”