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Greater Memphis Regional Freight Plan

I-40 traffic in Memphis


As 'America's Distribution Center,' Greater Memphis Region plays a critical role in the nation's global supply chain, with the presence of major multimodal freight facilities and investments in freight infrastructure. Some of the main highlights are:

1.       Presence of 5 Class One Railroads i.e. BNSF, CN, CSX, NS and UP

2.       Busiest Air cargo Airport in the US, and second busiest in the World.

3.       4th largest inland port in the United States.

4.       The nation’s 3rd-busiest trucking corridor, I-40, connects the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts and runs directly through the Greater Memphis Region.

With such a heavy concentration of freight, it comes as no surprise that freight plays a very important role in the region’s economy, with almost 30% of the employment concentrated in the transportation and warehousing sector.

In the past few years, there have been several freight-related investments that have been made in the Greater Memphis Region. The Greater Memphis Regional Freight Plan (Regional Freight Plan) represents an opportunity to address freight needs and issues in a comprehensive fashion and integrate freight planning into the ongoing multimodal transportation planning process.

Plan Overview

The Regional Freight Plan seeks to identify balance across modes to move freight effectively, in, out and through the region in a manner to meet the near and long term needs of the region’s industries and stakeholders. The planning efforts included a public survey, survey of current truck drivers, and numerous meetings with stakeholders from the public and private sectors within the region to gather feedback on the region’s freight movement, operations and transportation infrastructure. Key plan components include:

  • Detailed analysis of 8 Freight Areas in the Greater Memphis Region made up of 35 Freight Zones: intermodal accessibility, employment statistics and worker access, open real estate, etc;
  • Inventory of regional freight assets across every mode and potential bottlenecks and improvements; and
  • Assessment of national freight context: trade patterns with US megaregions and peer cities by mode, developing technologies, and federal policy.

The Plan took a close look at the industrial areas within the Greater Memphis Region, rural as well as urban areas, to identify the means for freight to move effectively with the region’s transportation network.  The future growth and repurposing of former industrial sites were key components of the evaluation.  Taken together, the Plan identified the means to take advantage of the region’s unique transportation attributes as a regional distribution center with its highway, inland waterway, rail, air freight  and pipeline connections across North America, as well as down the street. Recommendations include:

  • Upgrade key freight corridors such as Lamar Avenue that connect to intermodal facilities & national highways;
  • Encourage greater coordination & carrier connections for the region’s rail networkl; and
  • Introduce and upgrade ITS technology on freight corridors to enhance safety and efficiency.


Finally, the Plan demonstrated the economic attractiveness of this region, the strength of its workforce and its ability to host industry’s supply chains in a cost effective manner.

View the Plan

Greater Memphis Regional Freight Plan - Handout

Greater Memphis Regional Freight Plan

Appendix 1 Freight Trade Tables

Appendix 2 NHFN in the Memphis MPO Area

Appendix 3 Regional Industrial Area Descriptions

Appendix 4 Listing of Projects

Appendix 5 Freight Funding Programs

Appendix 6 Outreach Survey

Appendix 7 Public Comments

Resumen Ejecutivo - Plan de Carga del Area de Memphis

For more information, please see the presentations made at the Freight Advisory Committee (FAC) and Planning and Land Use Committee (PLAC) meetings. 

Click HERE

DateFreight Advisory Committee - Presentations





Contact Us

Mailing Address:

125 North Main St., Suite 450
Memphis, TN 38103
Tel: (901) 636.7190
Fax: (901) 636.7272

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