The CSX/NC DOT Carolina Connector puts Rocky Mount and Edgecombe County in the logistics spotlight.

Interest continues to build in the intermodal facility on Old Battleboro Road as we approach opening day in early October. Since its announcement in April 2019, the Carolina Connector has been on the radar of shippers and businesses all across the U.S. As businesses have followed its construction, consultants and business firms have deluged the Carolinas Gateway Partnership (CGP) staff with questions about its progress, its opening date and how to access the logistics opportunities it represents.

This unique joint venture between NC DOT and CSX will allow trucks to bring cargo containers to the terminal where they will be transferred to trains, serving many industries with efficient access to rail and ultimate delivery of merchandise to a customer faster and more economically. While there will be some jobs at the actual operation itself, the real value in the intermodal lies in the peripheral jobs it will create.

The new facility will lead to hundreds of jobs at manufacturers, warehouses and the fulfillment centers that will be locating near the terminal itself. And we are already experiencing this potential.

Today, CGP is working more projects than ever before in its almost 25-year history. A major portion of these projects are directly related to the intermodal and some will be announcing their investments soon.

The Carolina Connector impact will be felt all over North Carolina. Earlier research studies show that the terminal will create hundreds of jobs across eastern North Carolina and produce well over $300 million of associated benefits to the state’s coffers. Additionally, as the terminal handles over 110,000 container lifts per year — 9,200 per month — income will be produced for local vendors who will provide support to the hundreds of truckers who will visit the site every month. Mechanics, fuel suppliers, food and other requirements for drivers and their vehicles will become increasingly important as the business level at the terminal ramps up.

While trains are part of our history in Rocky Mount, the Carolina Connector ushers in a new wave of opportunities for our community. These new opportunities will bring us new friends, new investments and many more great jobs for our citizens.

E. Norris Tolson President and CEO, Carolinas Gateway Partnership