- Research & Data
We’re not short on ways to get here. Our central location means your business can connect to customers and suppliers faster.
We’re home to the second busiest cargo airport in the world, the third largest rail center in the U.S. and the nation’s fifth largest inland port. If you’re up for a day trip, Tennessee is conveniently accessible within a day’s drive to a majority of U.S. markets. In fact, we feel honored to be the center of attention—and the center of world for that matter.
Miles of highway
Miles of interstate
Miles of navigable waterways
Miles of main and short line railroads
In the Southeast for Best Infrastructure – Business Facilities, 2017
Rail systems, including 6 Class 1 railroads and 21 short-line railroads serving small communities and rural areas
Tennessee businesses enjoy access to fast and efficient railroad service. Six Class 1 railroads (out of seven in the U.S.) operate in Tennessee, creating 2,177 miles of rail. Railroads include BNSF, Canadian National/Illinois Central Railroad, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific. Twenty-one shortline railroads provide an additional 763 miles of rail.
Memphis is the third largest rail center in the U.S., trailing only Chicago and St. Louis. Memphis is also one of only four U.S. cities served by five or more of the seven long-haul Class 1 rail systems.
Our network of eight interstate highways puts most major U.S. markets within a day’s drive or less. Tennessee ranks #1 in the southeast for truck transportation employment and employment in the couriers and messengers sector.
Distance in driving miles from Tennessee cities to selected major markets:
|New York City||1096||886||818||707||1015||631|
Tennessee is home to 79 airports, including the second busiest cargo airport in the world (Memphis International). Besides our five commercial airports, Tennessee businesses are served by 74 general aviation airports and 148 heliports.
In Tennessee, you’ll have access to more than 1,000 miles of navigable waterways, plus 950 miles of inland waterways.
Tennessee has 165 miles of Mississippi River-front property. Of the nation’s inland and navigable waterways, an estimated 75% are within the Mississippi River system, making it the busiest water transportation artery in the country.
Memphis is the second-busiest port on the Mississippi River and the fifth-busiest inland port in the U.S. The International Port of Memphis is the largest stillwater harbor on the Mississippi River and is ice free year-round.
The port of Cates Landing is located on the Mississippi River. It is accessible to barge traffic year-round with up to 14,000 linear feet of slack water and is a Foreign Trade Zone.
Tennessee is part of the four-state region of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, which provides the state access of the Gulf of Mexico harbors and international markets. The waterway links to 4,500 miles of navigable waterways serving 23 states throughout the South and Midwest.
Tennessee ranks second in favorable utility rates in 2017, according to Area Development.
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is the nation’s largest public power provider, TVA delivers reliable and competitively priced electric power that gives businesses and families more opportunity to prosper.
From the terminal at the International Port of Memphis, shipments can reach 132 metropolitan markets, representing over 60 percent of the U.S. population, overnight.
Read up on all the details of the Location & Infrastructure of Tennessee.