Location & Transportation

The Region

crystal coast location & transportationCarteret County “The Crystal Coast” is part of the Southern Outer Banks. Carteret County is ideally situated midway between Boston and Miami. Two-thirds of U.S. commercial facilities are within a day’s trucking distance. The county is bordered by Onslow County to the west, Jones County to the Northwest, Craven County to the North and Pamlico County to the Northeast, across the Neuse River. Major county municipalities include Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Bogue, Cape Carteret, Cedar Point, Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, Morehead City, Newport, Peletier and Pine Knoll Shores.


Crystal Coast Location & TtransportationU.S. Highway 70, a four-lane road, is the Eastern Region’s “Main Street”, linking Carteret County to major East Coast markets and the Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle to the west. Interstate 95 is 105 miles from the Port of Morehead City (FTZ). Interstate 40 is 63 miles away via four-lane NC 24 and U.S. 17 providing access to the Port of Wilmington (FTZ).

The Global TransPark (FTZ) is 78 miles from the Port of Morehead City via I-70 and 88 miles to the Port of Wilmington via Hwy. 70.

Click here for additional information on North Carolina’s Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

Freight & Delivery Services

Carteret County is a very competitive trucking market well served by major interstate freight lines offering overnight delivery to many major cities. Package delivery services such as UPS, FedEx and DHL serve commercial and local airports and provide worldwide shipping.


Crystal Coast Location & Transportation

The Port of Morehead City, a breakbulk and bulk facility, is one of the deepest on the United States East Coast, and it’s just four miles from the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also within 700 miles of more than 70% of the U.S. industrial base. Interstates 95 and 40 are easily accessed via U.S. Highways 70 and 17. And train service is provided by Norfolk Southern. Located across the Newport River from the Port of Morehead City is Radio Island, a 150-acre site perfectly suited for a port industrial development, conveniently supplied with municipal water and sewer.

Click here to download a sheet on the Port of Morehead City and for additional information on North Carolina Ports.

Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ)

Crystal Coast Location & TransportationA Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), Zone 67, is located at the Port of Morehead City. Additional FTZ’s are located at the Port of Wilmington and the Global TransPark.

The region has two active Subzones, NACCO Materials Handling Group (subzone 214B) and Consolidated Diesel (subzone 214A), enabling companies doing international business to avoid formal customs entry and many customs duties, government taxes and cargo examination, thereby expediting processes and adding to the company’s bottom line.

Rail Freight

The North Carolina Railroad Company (NCRR) owns and manages the 317-mile rail corridor running from the Port of Morehead City to Charlotte. NCRR has a Master Agreement with Norfolk Southern, who operates the freight trains. Norfolk Southern has a Class One Railroad system that serves the Port of Morehead City and surrounding areas. Every day, approximately 65 Norfolk Southern freight trains use North Carolina Railroad track to ship commodities across the state.

Click for additional information on the North Carolina Railroad or for Norfolk Southern .

Commercial Air Service

Coastal Carolina Regional Airport (ECWCrystal Coast Location & Transportation), located just off US 70 south of New Bern, is within a 30-45 minute drive of most locations in Carteret County. The airport provides US Airways and Delta regional jet service to east coast hubs in Charlotte and Atlanta with connections to over 300 destinations worldwide.

Commercial air service is also available in Jacksonville and Greenville. Albert J. Ellis Airport (OAJ), located in Onslow County, is 13 miles northwest of the City of Jacksonville and provides five daily US Air Express flights to Charlotte. Pitt County-Greenville (PGV) is located 10 miles northwest of Greenville and provides service to Charlotte.

Additionally, the Kinston Regional Jetport’s 11,500 foot Category II ILS runway (the longest commercial runway between Washington DC and Atlanta) is the centerpiece of the 5,000 acre Global TransPark (GTP) business park. Two major airports, Raleigh-Durham and Wilmington-New Hanover County, provide international connections and are within easy driving distance.

Local Air Service

Crystal Coast Location & Transportation

Michael J. Smith Airport, a publicly owned corporate and general aviation facility located in the Town of Beaufort, has served the regional transportation needs of the Crystal Coast and Southern Outer Banks since June 1949.

The airport’s primary runway is 5,003 feet, allowing the facility to accommodate most large corporate aircraft in use today. The primary runway is (08/26) 5,003′ x 100′ with a dual wheel load capacity of 60,000 lbs. and FAA approved lighting. Additionally, both runways 8/26 and 3/21 have approved PAPI systems. All runways have GPS approaches. The secondary runways are (03/21) 4,191′ x 147′ and (14/32) 4001′ x 100′ with a single wheel load capacity of 12,500 lbs.

Airport services include refueling for Jet A-1 and 100LL, repair services, 24-hour security, pilot lounge and conference room. Additional services include air-freight, cargo handling, charter, aircraft rental, flight instruction and auto rental. Corporate and private aircraft hangars and tie downs are available, as well as prime ground for new hangar construction along the main taxiway.

The airport is named after Captain Michael J. Smith, USN, Astronaut and Commander of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Captain Smith was a native of Beaufort, NC. Click here for additional information.

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