Several months ago, we published “Moving at the Speed of Business” in the Triangle, Triad and Charlotte Business Journals, which outlined upcoming transportation infrastructure projects and their impact on business. One project highlighted was the Queen City Express and the many improvements taking shape at the North Carolina Ports Authority to make North Carolina more competitive. Since its publication, the Queen City Express has made its inaugural trip and North Carolina’s ports are getting serious attention from new global carrier alliances.
As Paul Scott Abbott recently examined in the American Journal of Transportation, in just the last few months, the Port of Wilmington has added weekly calls from many global carrier alliances connecting North Carolina businesses to North Asia, South China, Southeast Asia, India, Europe, the Caribbean and Central America. This is a major development that will no doubt bolster North Carolina’s economic growth. Increasing North Carolina’s connectivity to the modern global economy is key to advancing the state’s competitive standing. As the North Carolina Ports Authority moves forward with its modernization efforts totaling more than $100 million, the ports will continue adding trade routes, reducing congestion and improving efficiency, all while adding to its annual $14 billion economic impact on the state.
As with all transportation infrastructure improvements, ensuring the necessary funding is available to implement them is critical. It was just last month that North Carolina was ranked among the 15 states that are falling apart, indicating that much more must be done to build upon the investments the state is already making. While the North Carolina Ports Authority’s momentum is encouraging, North Carolina must continue to diversify revenue sources and fund a long-term transportation infrastructure plan in order to see that progress continue across the state.