New Direct Intermodal Rail Service to Connect Port of Wilmington and Charlotte
Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina joined officials from the state’s transportation department and CSX Corporation at the Port of Wilmington to announce the debut of the new Queen City Express, an intermodal rail service between Wilmington and CSX’s intermodal terminal in Charlotte.
CSX will eventually provide direct access from the Port of Wilmington to the Carolina Connector intermodal terminal in Edgecombe County. That facility is expected to create 1,500 jobs throughout North Carolina.
“The Queen City Express will be the only direct freight rail service into the greater Charlotte area from a port in North Carolina,” said McCrory. “The introduction of this new service will facilitate the efficient, cost-effective movement of goods between the global marketplace and one of the most significant economic centers in the southeastern United States.”
“The introduction of the Queen City Express fulfills a critical part of Governor McCrory’s 25-year vision for transportation in North Carolina by strengthening freight movement throughout the state,” added North Carolina’s transportation secretary Nick Tennyson. “Enhancing North Carolina’s rail service will decrease transportation costs for businesses and provide numerous statewide economic and environmental benefits.”
The Carolina Connector intermodal terminal, along with the Queen City Express, will lower transportation costs for businesses while taking trucks off the road. Transporting goods by rail will reduce congestion and wear and tear on the state’s highways, as well as improve safety and air quality. One intermodal train can eliminate as many as 280 trucks from the highway.
“This critical infrastructure project will create jobs and spur economic development in the region,” said CSX Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Michael J. Ward. “positioning eastern North Carolina as a transportation and logistics hub in the south.”
According to a recent North Carolina Ports survey, 90 percent of customers need intermodal service. The Port of Wilmington continues to see growth in containers and infrastructure, and recently welcomed its largest-ever container ship. To further expand the port’s capabilities, the North Carolina State Ports Authority is moving forward with a $100 million investment in infrastructure improvements including new cranes, an enhanced berth, and a wider turning basin, with further expansion on the way. The state budget signed by Governor McCrory includes $70 million over two years for modernization at the state ports.
“The return of intermodal rail to the Port of Wilmington expands our reach into an under-served market,” said NC Ports Authority Executive Director Paul J. Cozza. “The Queen City Express will provide premier rail service for existing and future container customers.”