Transportation & Logistics

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Location, infrastructure and talent. Those three elements combine to make Charlotte ideal for distribution and logistics operations. Located at a strategic point on the East Coast between major ports and inland cities, the Charlotte region provides easy access to the bulk of the United States’ population.

Transportation assets include Charlotte Douglas International Airport (sixth busiest airport in the nation by total aircraft movements) the intersection of two major interstate highways, an inland terminal operated by the North Carolina Ports Authority and Norfolk Southern’s state-of-the-art intermodal facility. It’s no wonder that 137,000 people in the region work in logistics-related occupations. And the region’s 25 college, plus 18 community colleges and vocational schools, are busy training the next generation of the logistics workforce with specialized certificates and degrees at all levels.

Download our Logistics and Distribution publication here.

To purchase a database of around 900 transportation and logistics companies in the 16-county Charlotte region compiled by the Chamber, visit www.charlotte


Charlotte Region Transportation Assets
Charlotte’s strategic location places it centrally on the East Coast, with similar distances to New York, Miami, Chicago, St. Louis and New Orleans.

Charlotte is served by a highly efficient interstate system. Interstates 85 and 77 link Charlotte with the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport provides over 700 daily flights and serves over 44 million passengers annually.

The Charlotte region’s Foreign Trade Zone #57, adjacent to the airport, is a catalyst for companies to improve their competitiveness and profitability in international trade.

The North Carolina Ports Authority operates an inland terminal in Charlotte, linking port facilities in Wilmington with businesses in Charlotte.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport
•  More than 700 daily flights to more than 150 destinations
•  Over 44 million passengers served each year
•  More than 130,000 tons of cargo shipped annually

Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility at CLT
•  200-acre facility
•  Capable of 200,000 lifts per year
•  Connects to intermodal facilities at Port of Charleston

Wilson Air Center
•  Executive terminal
•  250,000 square feet of heated hangar space

Norfolk Southern Crescent rail corridor
•  $2.5 billion infrastructure project
•  Connects New Orleans and New York City, passing through CLT

Charlotte Inland Terminal
•  16 acres
•  Stacking space for 391 containers
•  Connects to Port of Wilmington, NC, via CSX double-stack route

CSX double-stack line
•  Access to Port of Wilmington



Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is the sixth busiest airport in the nation by total aircraft movements and 23rd largest in the world by passenger volume. This can be attributed, in part, to CLT’s status as American Airlines’ second largest hub. The airport averages about 700 daily flights to more than 150 destinations. The airport ranks 33rd nationwide for cargo shipments. Both domestic and international freight services are available to and from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, South America and Central America.

CLT has undergone major changes in recent years, with more expansion projects planned through 2017. New parking deck and rental car facilities were built to accommodate current and future passenger growth, while a new checked baggage system and food court expansion were designed to enhance passenger experience. Plans are underway to expand the terminal lobby, add a new, longer parallel runway, and construct a new concourse that will provide additional capacity for domestic flights.

Download a map and a list of daily flights here.

CLT Airport


Two major rail lines, Norfolk Southern and CSX, support Charlotte’s growing status as a supply chain hub. Norfolk Southern operates approximately 22,000 route miles across the eastern United States while CSX operates approximately 21,000 miles of track through 23 states, Washington, D.C. and Canada. This level of connectivity, coupled with Charlotte’s central geographic location and access to the Southeast, Eastern Seaboard and Midwest, makes logistics one of Charlotte’s core industries.

To find out more about Norfolk Southern and CSX and view maps of routes, visit or

CSX train


A public-private venture with Norfolk Southern, Charlotte’s Intermodal Facility links air, sea and truck transportation in one strategically located place. The facility is located on airport grounds and is capable of 200,000 lifts annually. Charlotte’s Intermodal Facility offers businesses an efficient and convenient mode of shipping freight to various destinations, as the yard sits only 40 feet below two taxiway bridges with easy access to two interstates – I-85 and I-485. It also offers access to trains as railroad tracks extend a mile along the airfield.

The intermodal yard is an important aspect of Norfolk Southern’s Southern Crescent Corridor Project, which will provide one of the fastest, most direct routes to major cities along the eastern seaboard.

“The Intermodal terminal connects Charlotte to modern flows of commerce for raw goods and finished product distribution,” said Stuart Hair, economic affairs manager at CLT.

Logistics’ role in the future of the airport area
“Charlotte Douglas International airport is embarking on a $2.5 billion capital improvement program to meet existing demands,” said Stuart Hair. “Additionally, the highest and best use of the approximately 3,000 acres owned by the airport not needed for aeronautical activity is being examined. Logistics will play a vital role in the growth and development of the airport area, with initial concepts providing increased direct connectivity to the variety of transportation modes.”

Intermodal yard at CLT


Charlotte is a major trucking center, as more than 700 companies have operations in the area. Approximately half of the nation’s top trucking firms have locations in Charlotte, including nine of the top 10. These companies provide a complete range of services, including freight, liquid or dry bulk, heavy hauling, furniture moving and container shipping. Transporting from Charlotte, trucking companies can reach most major metro areas east of the Mississippi River within a 24-hour drive. Charlotte provides a break-bulk point, which can result in time and cost savings to Charlotte area companies. Click here to download a truck delivery time map. Click here to download a FedEx delivery time map. Click here to download a UPS delivery time map.

  • Charlotte ranks in the top 10 cities for Export Assistance (Global Trade Magazine, 2015).
  • There are more than 700 trucking companies in the Charlotte area.
  • 53 percent of the nation’s population is within a 24-hour drive.
  • Nine of the top 10 trucking companies have locations in the Charlotte area.
  • C-TPAT Certified Charlotte Inland Terminal is located at the heart of manufacturing and distribution sites in the Southeast.

Trucking image


The Charlotte Inland Terminal (CIT), a C-TPAT Certified location, is strategically located among manufacturing and distribution sites in Charlotte and allows easy access to the I-85 and I-77 corridors. CIT provides professional, neutral container yard operations to container carriers and serves as a staging area for empty and loaded containers. The terminal is bonded by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Charlotte is approximately 200 miles from seaports in Wilmington, NC, and Charleston, SC. The Port of Wilmington is a C-TPAT Certified location and is designated at Foreign Trade Zone #66. The port is located within 700 miles of over 70 percent of the industrial base in the United States. The Port of Charleston is a congestion-free terminal with some of the fastest transit times on the East Coast.

Charlotte is also approximately 300 miles from the Port of Morehead City, NC, and terminals in Norfolk, VA. Download an East Coast port map here.



“Red Classic was founded in Charlotte as the total transportation solution for Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated. Since then, we’ve experienced phenomenal growth due, in large part, to Charlotte’s natural advantages as a transportation hub including close proximity to all major East Coast markets and its shippers, an evolving highway system, and the many talented individuals regionally employed in our industry. Red Classic is proud to call Charlotte home and we can’t think of a better place to live, work, serve and play.” ~ Ron Drogan, president


Top logistics-related industries in the Charlotte region:
Scheduled passenger air transportation
General warehousing and storage
General freight trucking, long-distance, truckload
General freight trucking, long-distance, less than truckload
Couriers and express delivery services
Postal service
General freight trucking, local

Freight transportation arrangement

Specialized freight (except used goods) trucking, local

School and employee bus transportation

Other warehousing and storage
Source: JobsEQ, 2016


Top 25 logistics-related employers
Company Name Primary County Employees
American Airlines Inc. Mecklenburg 11,000
Cardinal Logistics Management Cabarrus 2,800
APM Terminals North America Inc. / Universal Maritime Service Corp. Mecklenburg 1,329
FedEx Ground Regional 1,325
FedEx Regional 732
FedEx Freight Corp. Mecklenburg 550
Cargo Transporters Inc. Catawba 500
Charlotte Douglas International Airport Mecklenburg 450
Carolina Cargo Inc. of Rock Hill York 400
Maersk Inc. Mecklenburg 375
FedEx SmartPost Mecklenburg 300
Norfolk Southern Corp. Mecklenburg 300
Zenith Freight Lines LLC Catawba 300
Estes Express Lines Inc. Mecklenburg 212
Transportation Insight LLC Catawba 180
Odyssey Logistics & Technology Corp. Mecklenburg 170
United Parcel Service Inc. Mecklenburg 152
AAA Cooper Transportation Mecklenburg 150
Forward Air Solutions Inc. Mecklenburg 150
Saia LTL Freight Mecklenburg 150
Greatwide Cheetah Transportation LLC Iredell 134
Air General Inc. Mecklenburg 130
Kuehne + Nagel Inc. Mecklenburg 130
Ozburn-Hessey Logistics LLC/OHL Iredell 130
Cowan Systems LLC Mecklenburg 129
Sources: Businesswise, Hoover's, Company spokespeople

Article edited with the free HTML composer software.


Fastest growing logistics-related industries since 2010
Average Annual Growth in Employment since 2010
Industry Charlotte Region North Carolina USA
Mixed Mode Transit Systems 67.1% 7.6% 0.4%
Navigational Services to Shipping 39.5% 9.4% 0.8%
All Other Support Activities for Transportation 38.3% 32.3% 6.5%
Other Warehousing and Storage 38.1% 15.2% 0.1%
All Other Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation 24.0% 2.3% 7.7%
Limousine Service 17.7% 17.7% 4.5%
Other Support Activities for Air Transportation 14.4% 8.5% 2.2%
Inland Water Freight Transportation 12.7% 7.3% 2.0%
Used Household and Office Goods Moving 11.1% 5.7% 2.8%
Local Messengers and Local Delivery 11.1% 5.5% 5.4%
Scheduled Passenger Air Transportation 10.2% 1.8% 0.3%
Specialized Freight (except Used Goods) Trucking, Local 10.1% 5.5% 3.8%
Scheduled Freight Air Transportation 9.8% -1.2% 2.4%
Source: JobsEQ, 2016


Workforce and Education

More than 137,000 people work in logistics-related occupations in the 16-county Charlotte region. Educational programs at all levels train this workforce. Here are a few examples of programs in the area. For more details, consult the Logistics Alliance of the Carolinas at

  • More than 137,000 people in the Charlotte region work in logistics-related occupations.
  • More than 2.5 times the national average of passenger airline employees work in the Charlotte region.
  • More than two times the national average of freight air employees in the Charlotte region.
  • More than two times the national average of long-distance freight truckers work in the Charlotte region.
  • More than three times the national average of warehousing and storage workers are employed in the Charlotte region.


Logistics-related occupations by degree

  Central Piedmont Community College: UNC Charlotte: UNC Charlotte:
  A.A. in Global Logistics BSBA Management Information Systems MS Systems Engineering
  York Technical College: BSBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management MBA concentration in Supply Chain Management
  A.A. in Management with Concentration in Logistics BS Systems Engineering Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Advanced Logistics Careers: Advanced Logistics Careers: Logisticians (1,087) Transportation, storage and distribution managers (1,107)
Production, Planning and Expediting Clerks (3,093) Cargo and Freight Agents (874) Operations research analysts (842)  
  Purchasing Managers (742)    
Distribution and Warehousing Careers: Distribution and Warehousing Careers:    
Laborers and Freight, Stock and Material Movers, Hand (26,479) First-line supervisors of helpers, laborers and material moving machine and vehicle operators (1,908)    
Stock clerks and order fillers (18,286) First-line supervisors of helpers, laborers and material movers, hand (1,871)    
Truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer (19,738) Crane and tower operators (370)    
Packers and packagers, hand (7,723)      
Industrial truck and tractor operators (6,129)      
Machine Feeders and off bearers (1,398)      



Occupation-specific wages
Logistics-related Occupation Wage Rate
Transportation, Storage, & Distribution Managers $47.54
First-Line Supervisors of Transportation & Material-Moving Machine & Vehicle Operators $26.55
First-Line Supervisors of Helpers, Laborers, & Material Movers, Hand $22.79
Crane and Tower Operators $21.79
Production, Planning, & Expediting Clerks $21.31
Cargo & Freight Agents $19.30
Heavy & Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers $19.22
Bus Drivers, Transit & Intercity $17.77
Transportation & Material Moving Occupations $16.92
Excavating & Loading Machine & Dragline Operators $16.28
Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers $15.72
Shipping, Receiving, & Traffic Clerks $15.20
Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators $15.11
Driver/Sales Workers $14.67
Laborers & Freight, Stock, & Material Movers, Hand $13.45
Conveyor Operators and Tenders $13.17
Stock Clerks & Order Fillers $11.69
Packers & Packagers, Hand $10.95
Automotive & Watercraft Service Attendants $10.67
*Occupations highlighted in blue below national average for wages  
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Average Hourly Wages in Transportation & Materials
Moving Occupations & Unionization Rates
Region Average Hourly Wage Unionization rate
Charlotte $16.92 2.20%
Virginia Beach $17.21 5.90%
Chicago $17.26 10.30%
Baltimore $17.31 11.80%
Miami $17.37 16.20%
Phoenix $17.38 6.20%
Salt Lake City $17.41 4.50%
Atlanta $17.83 4.50%
Tulsa $17.89 6.60%
Boston $18.14 13.00%
Savannah, GA $18.24 7.60%
Houston $18.39 6.60%
New Orleans $18.40 5.60%
Washington, DC $18.55 10.80%
Minneapolis $18.62 14.40%
Denver $19.06 9.90%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics and