New Inland Port Opens in North Carolina

Carolina Connector ribbon-cutting
North Carolina political leaders and industry stakeholders joined in the ribbon-cutting for the Carolina Connector on Nov. 18. (North Carolina Department of Transportation)

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As the nation’s major seaports experience more congestion, another inland port facility will help to move freight along the Eastern Seaboard.

The Carolina Connector is a 330-acre facility near Rocky Mount, N.C., where shipping containers are transferred between trucks and trains.

The facility was conceived long before the current supply chain backup began, but experts say its timing may be ideal as it provides the freight industry another tool on the East Coast to move products from manufacturers to consumers.

“We know that a good transportation system is the backbone of a good economy,” North Carolina Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette said at the opening ceremony Nov. 18. “Projects like this Carolina Connector are part of that logistical network that we need to keep our economy competitive, not only now but in the future.”

The Carolina Connector began operations Oct. 7.

Class I railroad CSX built and will operate the Carolina Connector, but the project also received $118 million in state funding for road extensions, buildings, rail sidings, parking, storage areas and three 83-foot cranes that will be used to move containers from trucks to trains and vice versa.

Even though the facility is privately owned, state officials say they consider the Carolina Connector as much public infrastructure as an interstate highway or rail station.

The facility is designed to move about 10,000 containers per month, but CSX already has expansion plans for an additional 380 acres of nearby land. — Transport Topics

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