The official return of intermodal rail to North Carolina Ports will begin July 28, 2017, when North Carolina Ports and CSX will commence a daily, intermodal rail service, dubbed the Queen City Express,between Wilmington and Charlotte.
“The Queen City Express provides premier rail service over competing ports for existing and future container customers in one of the most significant economic centers in the Southeastern United States,” said North Carolina Ports executive director, Paul J. Cozza. “In addition, further establishing our inland terminal helps answer the request of many cargo owners asking for improved connectivity to international markets.”
The Queen City Express is one of the fastest and most direct rail services into and out of the Greater Charlotte region from a port in the U.S. Southeast. This regularly scheduled double stacked train service offers the availability of containers at the Charlotte Intermodal Terminal (CIT) owned by North Carolina Ports. The train also provides connectivity for each and every container service currently calling on the Port of Wilmington.
"This service, dovetailed with the investment that CSX is making in Rocky Mount, is a testament to our dedication to the State of North Carolina and North Carolina Ports," said Dean Piacente, vice president of CSX Intermodal. "In addition to the connection to Charlotte, CSX will also provide future access to a transformational, state-of-the-art intermodal rail terminal in Eastern North Carolina - the Carolina Connector."
The Carolina Connector (CCX), announced last summer in Rocky Mount, N.C., will serve as a transportation hub in the Southeast for containerized freight. CCX along with the Queen City Express will lower transportation costs for businesses while taking trucks off the road, thus reducing emissions. One intermodal train can take as many as 280 trucks off the road.
In addition to the Queen City Express, North Carolina Ports recently announced the activation of four new container services, setting the Port of Wilmington up for unprecedented growth in this fiscal year. To prepare for this growth, North Carolina Ports has ordered New Panamax ship-to-shore cranes from designer Shanghai Zhenjua Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. (ZPMC). Between the new cranes, turning basin expansion project, various berth improvements, and the expansion of the container yard, North Carolina Ports will pump over $150 million into its infrastructure over the next few years.
North Carolina’s ports in Wilmington and Morehead City, plus inland terminals in Charlotte and in Greensboro, link the state's consumers, businesses and industry to world markets, and serve as magnets to attract new business and industry to the State of North Carolina. Port activities contribute statewide to 76,000 jobs and $700 million each year in state and local tax revenues.