NC East Alliance

Eastern NC Advantages

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Market Access

Mid-Atlantic East Coast Location


Market Access Information

North Carolina EAST - Transportation Corridor



Interstate 40 runs through the area and connects the region with Wilmington, Raleigh - Durham, Greensboro and the western U.S.                                                                                                    

Interstate 95 runs through Wilson and Nash Counties and is one of the most important north-south travel routes on the East Coast.

U.S. Highway 70 is the region's "Main Street," linking area cities with the port at Morehead City to the east, the Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle area to the west, and serving as a connector to I-40 and I-95U.S. Highway 70 Corridor Commission

Other key regional routes include Interstate 795, U.S. Highways 64, 264, 17, 117, and 258, and state routes 58, 55 and 24. Highway 17 Association

Future Interstate 42: Officials approved I-42 for the U.S. 70 corridor between Interstate 40 and Morehead City. The American Association of State and Transportation Officials, in May 2016, approved the U.S. 70 Corridor to be designated the future I-42 between I-40 and Morehead City. Signs have already been installed on the new US 70 Bypass of Goldsboro (70 mph speed limit) that connects to I-95 via I-795 in Wilson. Similar signs are expected to be installed in the near future on the US 64 freeway between Rocky Mount, NC and Williamston (also a 70 mph speed limit). Learn More

Future Interstate 87: Permission has been given for I-87 along US 64/17 between Raleigh and Virginia. The roads will provide improved access to the Hampton Roads area in Virginia (one of the most significant ports serving the US East Coast) as well as improving links between important military bases and the Port of Morehead City. Learn More

Future Interstate 587: Interstate 587 will overlay the U.S. 264 freeway east from its split with U.S. 64 (Future I-87) at Zebulon, to Greenville. The rural freeway joins Raleigh with Wilson as well, and partially coincides with Interstate 795 between I-95 and its route leading south to Goldsboro. Learn More



Norfolk Southern and CSX are the main suppliers of railroad freight service in the region. Norfolk Southern has a Class One Railroad system that serves the Morehead City port and surrounding areas. Freight service is also available through CSX. Passenger rail service is available daily at stations in Rocky Mount and Wilson. Nash County Railroad is a short line that serves areas around Rocky Mount.

Click here for a map of East NC Rail and Barge sites.

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Port of Morehead City

113 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC 28557


One of the deepest ports on the US East Coast and the second largest North Carolina port, the Port of Morehead City is located just four miles from the Atlantic Ocean. The port handles both breakbulk and bulk cargo and is the second largest importer in the country for natural rubber.

Channel Depth

  • Inside harbor channel depth of 45 ft. M.L.L.W.


  • 128 acres


  • Within 700 miles of more than 70 percent of the industrial base of the United States.
  • Rail service provided by Norfolk Southern Railway
  • Vehicular access to I-95 and I-40 is available via U.S. 17 and U.S. 70
Primary Products
  • Phosphate, sulfur, metal products, rubber, woodchips, aircraft parts
  • PCS, Nucor Steel, Cogent Marine, Goodyear, Norfolk Southern, Spirit AeroSystems
Economic Contribution
  • Goods moving through the port provide over $1 billion in annual economic contribution to the North Carolina's economy
  • Directly and indirectly supports over 3,000 jobs across the state of North Carolina
  • Port activities contribute over $38 million each year in state and local tax revenues

 Port of Wilmington

North Gate (General Cargo): 1870 Shipyard Boulevard, Wilmington, NC 28401

South Gate (Container Terminal): 1 Shipyard Boulevard, Wilmington, NC 28401


The Port of Wilmington is strategically located on the U.S. East Coast. Owned and operated by the North Carolina State Ports Authority, the Port of Wilmington offers terminal facilities serving container, bulk and breakbulk operations.

Channel Depth

  • Inside harbor channel depth of 42 ft. M.L.L.W.


  • 284 acres


  • Within 700 miles of more than 70 percent of the industrial base of the United States
  • Rail service provided by CSX Transportation
  • Vehicular access via I-40, I-440, U.S. 17, U.S. 117, U.S. 74/ I-74, and U.S. 421

Primary Products

  • Grains, forest products, chemicals, fertilizers, woodpulp, furniture, apparel, automotive parts


Container & Breakbulk

  • Harbor Freight Tools, International Paper, Domtar, Gildan, Lowe's, Carolina Ocean Lines, Lenovo, Rooms To Go, Ashley Furniture, Electrolux, Hanesbrands
  • Vopak, Wilmington Bulk, Yildiz

Economic Contribution

  • Goods moving through the port provide nearly $13 billion in annual economic contribution to North Carolina's economy
  • Directly and indirectly supports 73,000 jobs across the state of North Carolina
  • Port activities contribute over $668 million each year in state and local tax revenues

The Port of Virginia
port of virginia.jpg
With 6 terminals and 1,864 acres of land, the Port of Virginia is the deepest on the U.S. East Coast and shelters the world's largest naval base. The Port of Virginia is home to Foreign Trade Zone 20, in which over $1.6 billion of total merchandise is received annually. FTZ 20 companies at the Port of Virginia produce over $430 million in exports annually.

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Foreign Trade Zones

A Foreign-Trade Zone, or FTZ, is like a “duty-free” zone for businesses. FTZs are designated sites licensed by the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board that encompass a geographical area at or near a U.S. Port of Entry where commercial merchandise is treated by U.S. Customs as if it were “outside the commerce of the United States.” There are two foreign trade zones in eastern North Carolina - FTZ 20 covering 22 southeastern counties and the newly expanded FTZ 214 covering 7 northeastern counties. FTZ INfo-01.pngBenefits of a Foreign Trade Zone 

  • Duty Deferral - Users can avoid paying duties on imported merchandise until the goods are removed from the FTZ and enter in the U.S. commerce. Duty on machinery is deferred until it is put into production; there is no duty paid on re-exports or scrap.
  • Weekly Entries - Zone users will benefit if they file multiple Customs and Border Protection entries each week. FTZs allow the user to file this paper work once a week at a rate no higher than $485.
  • Customs Compliance - Customs & Border Protection requirements and federal criminal sanctions are deterrents against theft. Cargo that is imported into FTZs have fewer incidents of loss and may result in lower insurance costs.
  • Inverted Tariffs/Duty Reduction - FTZ zone users can pay lower duty rates on goods produced in the zone when the finished product has a lower duty rate than the imported components and parts.
  • No Time Constraints - Merchandise may remain in the zone indefinitely, whether or not it is subject to duty.