Northeast Tennessee Valley Is a Distribution Dream
Home Shopping Network runs a 1.2-million-square-foot shipping center out of Piney Flats in Sullivan County, largely because of the excellent transportation options in the Northeast Tennessee Valley.
Meanwhile, Walmart operates a 1-million-square-foot distribution center in Greene County, and officials with the huge retailer often point to the region’s great transportation system as a key factor in their local success.
The Northeast Tennessee Valley has become a business center for many trucking firms and companies that bring in raw materials or ship out products. The region’s strategic location offers many advantages, including one-day access to 76 percent of the nation's population via three major interstates and six U.S. highways.
Those three interstates – I-26, I-40 and I-81 – cross through the Valley, while I-75 and I-77 are in close proximity. All these interstates are especially important to the more than 60 transportation-based companies located in the region.
Airport Serves Northeast Tennessee Valley
“We serve a 60-mile radius from the airport that reaches into northeast Tennessee, southwest Virginia, parts of western North Carolina and parts of Kentucky,” says Melissa Thomas, director of marketing and air service development at Tri-Cities Regional Airport. “We are located in Blountville about three miles off I-81 and are close to I-26 as well, so we are an excellent vantage point for motorist and trucking access.”
“Delta serves Detroit and Atlanta with nine daily flights, while US Airways has seven flights to Charlotte, and American serves Chicago with two daily departures,” Thomas says. “Allegiant Air offers low-fare service to Florida markets such as Orlando and Tampa, with four passenger flights each week.”
Tri-Cities Airport Improves
Tri-Cities Regional also has a Foreign Trade Zone that allows cargo carriers to bring in goods tax- and duty-free, and eight hangars on site that can house a wide range of private aircraft and corporate jets.
“We’ve also been making a lot of improvements to the south side of our airfield, specifically to attract companies that might want to have their operations on the airport grounds,” Thomas says. “There is a business/industrial park in place, and we have a nice building on site. The business park is perfect for companies that are looking to relocate to the Southeast and might need access to an airstrip. That type of property is difficult to come by.”
Rail Serves Northeast Tennessee Valley
Meanwhile, the Northeast Tennessee Valley is also served by two major railroads, CSX and Norfolk Southern, which provide Tier I rail access to the strategic ports of Norfolk, Va., and Charleston, S.C.
“Travel by any means in the Northeast Tennessee Valley is convenient,” Thomas says. “Good transportation access is one of the many positives about this region.”