Port Capabilities


North Carolina Ports offers two excellent port locations, Wilmington and Morehead City, both with unique benefits. The Port of Wilmington has two    neo-Panamax cranes and four post-Panamax container cranes. The Port of Morehead City is just four miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Both offer extensive warehousing and open storage. And both provide easy access to interstate highways and major railroads.

Our customer-focused approach also means shippers receive excellent port communication and customized service. Customers experience the fastest turn times on the United States East Coast. And our expanding storage capabilities, including Wilmington’s 101,000-square-foot, on-terminal cold storage facility, can accommodate more customers than ever.


Top Ten Benefits for using NC Ports

  • Customer-focused. Less bureaucracy. Committed to helping new customers transition.
  • Less congestion than other East Coast ports.
  • Equipped to handle post-Panamax ships.
  • Quicker turnaround times than other ports.
  • Carriers provide services to/from the entire world.
  • Cost savings for everyone involved.
  • Room for growth, tailored to the specific needs of customers.
  • Pro-business strategic plan.
  • Infrastructure investment to meet future industry needs.
  • Location, location, location.


Download Port of Competitive Advantage

Port of Competitive Advantage

Learn more about how NC Ports empowers the success of retailers. This brochure provides important details about how the Port of Wilmington serves as the hub of a vast land/sea transportation network. Download it today.



We have room for growth. A lot of growth. And we’re going to be smart about it, by partnering with customers and coordinating with their specific needs. At North Carolina Ports, our goal is to be your best business decision, giving you a competitive advantage and more opportunity for profitability. It’s this pro-business approach that will define our future. And we hope it helps define yours.

Speaking of the future, the Port of Wilmington is expanding to accommodate multiple ultra-Panamax container ships simultaneously and to increase the speed and efficiency of loading and unloading these vessels. Specific landside developments include the improvement of its berths and the installation of three new neo-Panamax container cranes.  Waterside the Port of Wilmington has expanded its turning basin to accommodate post-Panamax vessels with a length of 1,150 feet (350.52 meters) and a breadth of 158 feet (48.16 meters). Depending on the profile of the vessel, this means the port can handle vessels holding up to 10,000 TEUs.

The Port of Wilmington is also expanding the container terminal with triple the plugs. This expansion means more refrigerated container volume, an increased perishables portfolio, and greater efficiency for cold shipment customers, making the best cold chain shipment facilities on the Eastern Seaboard even better.

With expansions and improvements, ideal access to rail and interstate highway routes, and a commitment to customers, we offer significant advantages for international business. Of course, the best way to learn what could be in it for you is to talk to us directly.

Talk to a live person who has been instructed to help you determine if the Ports of Wilmington or Morehead City could be good fits for your business. We feel that’s the first step in being a good partner. And if you decide to make the transition, we’ll do everything we can to help it go smoothly.


Cargo Handling


It’s our business to help your business run smoothly at our ports. We’re adding equipment and upgrading our capabilities. And we’re making sure our people have the training and expertise to serve your interests. Each port has its own unique features, so you can make the right business decision.

Container Services

The Port of Wilmington has one of the highest crane productivity rates on the United States East Coast, with more than 45 moves per hour in each of its post- and neo-Panamax cranes. On the ground, our truck turn times are approximately 18 minutes (from pedestal to pedestal) for a drop-off and an average of 30 minutes for drop-off and pick-up. Our efficiencies lead to a congestion-free port supporting our customers’ global supply chain needs.

OOG (Out of Gauge)

North Carolina Ports has the experience and expertise to safely move OOG cargo like equipment and machinery. In addition to extensive laydown and storage areas, the Port of Wilmington has the right equipment and the right people to handle OOG cargo with exceptional care and proficiency.


With more than four million tons of bulk cargo movements annually, North Carolina Ports is a perfect choice for dry bulk commodities such as grains, fertilizers and direct reduced iron. With ample on-terminal availability and abundant room for growth, North Carolina Ports is the ideal long-term shipping partner.


We offer unique logistics solutions for breakbulk, heavy lift, project and military cargoes. Warehousing at the Port of Wilmington and the Port of Morehead City offers high-quality features for the most demanding breakbulk shippers, including paper, steel, and lumber. Offering white glove customer service, North Carolina Ports is dedicated to your success.


North Carolina Ports has the capacity and capabilities to store and move your self-propelled cargo. Roll-on/roll-off options at both of North Carolina’s Ports offer a number of advantages over traditional cargo vessels. For the shipper, the advantage is speed. Wheeled ro-ro cargo such as cars, tanks, etc. can drive straight on to the ship at one port and then drive off at the other within a few minutes of the ship docking, thus saving time of the shipper.

Storage and warehousing

There is ample storage capacity on-site at both the Port of Wilmington and Port of Morehead City. Between the two ports, there are more than 2 million square feet of prime covered and sprinklered cargo storage space, 130+ paved acres and 34 acres of improved open storage area, plus more than 335 additional acres available for development. As North Carolina Ports get bigger, the world gets smaller.


With the ability to plug in 300+ refrigerated containers—and plans to more than triple that number as we expand our container terminal—the Port of Wilmington is an ideal choice for cargo such as proteins, produce, fish, and other commodities. Wilmington is also a member of both Phase One and Phase Two of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Southeast In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot program, enabling us to serve the North Carolina grocery sector with a host of logistical and economic advantages. In addition, NC Ports’ partnership with USA InvestCo allows the Port of Wilmington to house one of the only on-terminal cold storage facilities on the East Coast of the United States.

Learn more about our Cold Chain Shipping Solutions



We know time is money. Both of North Carolina’s Ports are in ideal locations for serving the Eastern United States. And our on-site capabilities enable carriers to experience quicker turnaround times than at other ports.

Port of Wilmington Railroads

  • Rail service provided by CSX Transportation
  • Terminal switching railroad operated by Wilmington Terminal Railroad
  • Substantial rail car storage available
  • Rail access to berths, transit sheds, warehouses and open storage

Port of Wilmington Highways

  • Access via US 17, 74, 76 and 421
  • Interstates 95 and 40

Port of Morehead City Railroads

  • Rail service provided by Norfolk Southern Railway
  • Terminal switching railroad operated by Morehead & South Fork Railroad
  • Certified railroad scale
  • Substantial rail car storage available
  • Rail access to berths, transit sheds, warehouses and open storage

Port of Morehead City Highways

  • Access via US 70, 17 and 24
  • Interstates 95 and 40


New for 2016 and beyond, USA InvestCo and North Carolina Ports have constructed a 101,000 s.f. cold storage facility, which is located directly on terminal at the Port of Wilmington. This is one of the only cold storage facilities located on a port on the United States East Coast.

Port of Wilmington Cold Storage (PWCS) is a full-service, public refrigerated warehouse operation and has approximately 11,000 pallet positions. The facility is located near ideal distribution channels including water, interstate, and rail. PWCS offers a broad range of services, including freezing, cooling, storage, tempering, boxing, shipping and receiving. Our modern temperature controlled and fully racked facility has the latest technologies incorporated with our refrigeration systems. We provide warehouse storage in a full range of cooler and freezer temperatures from -10 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Your product can also be frozen and shipped quickly, and our dynamic blast freezing capabilities allow for multiple start/finish times.

Additionally, Port of Wilmington Cold Storage works closely with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its inspectors. Our warehouse location has facilities for USDA inspectors, including a meat inspection room, office, and storage for utensils required for inspection. And we have the unique ability to move product right from rail cars to the freezer and vice versa. PWCS customer service representatives work with CSX Transportation so that we can manage the coordination of product, loading/unloading and scheduling of your rail shipments



The Port of Wilmington is designated Foreign Trade Zone 214. The Port of Morehead City is designated Foreign Trade Zone 214. A Foreign Trade Zone is a secure area within the U.S. but outside U.S. Customs territory. Foreign and domestic merchandise can enter an FTZ and avoid a formal customs entry and many customs duties, government excise taxes and cargo examination. For businesses involved in international trade, an FTZ offers tremendous economic benefits and allows you to be a stronger competitor. Most notably, customs duties and excise taxes are not applicable on many shipments. The reduction of these costs, in turn, saves money on cargo insurance. In practice, shipments through an FTZ are substantially faster and more predictable than those without FTZ control.

Other Benefits

  • Cargo may be held duty-free in inventory
  • Faster delivery times
  • Lower cargo insurance rates
  • Cargo protected by security
  • No country-of-origin labels required
  • Inventory control from careful accounting on receipt, processing and shipment of merchandise
  • No state and county inventory taxes
  • Substandard goods can be destroyed before duty is paid
  • Title to merchandise may be transferred in an FTZ as long as there is no retail sale
  • No specific ID of merchandise needed
  • Goods subject to U.S. quotas may be held until quotas open

Zero Customs Duties On

  • Goods exported from an FTZ
  • International returns
  • Spare parts
  • Goods consumed in processing in an FTZ
  • Merchandise & machinery held for exhibition/display
  • Merchandise transferred from one FTZ to another FTZ

Reduced Customs Duties On

  • Goods exported from an FTZ
  • Defective, obsolete, waste and scrap merchandise
  • Labor, overhead and profit related to production in the FTZ
  • Paying the duty rate on component materials of merchandise produced from those materials—whichever is lower

Service Maps