The gateway to everywhere.

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.

Quick Facts

More than 95,500 miles of highway and 1,181 miles of interstate
976 main channel miles of commercially navigable waterways
2,940 miles of Class I and short line railroads
5 commercial airports and 74 general aviation airports
148 heliports
# Tennessee Business By Land:

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:

  Memphis Nashville Chattanooga Knoxville Jackson Johnson City
Atlanta 383 248 118 213 376 256
Birmingham 237 193 147 256 220 361
Charlotte 619 408 340 230 538 149
Chicago 534 471 603 541 518 603
Cincinnati 485 275 359 251 402 313
Cleveland 732 522 609 501 651 484
Dallas 451 662 796 841 538 946
Detroit 747 537 621 513 664 537
Indianapolis 464 287 419 358 414 419
Kansas City 452 556 687 733 501 838
Little Rock 137 349 480 528 223 632
Miami 1006 911 779 874 1040 845
New Orleans 395 534 491 599 477 705
New York City 1096 886 818 707 1015 631
Philadelphia 1011 800 732 621 929 546
St. Louis 284 309 440 485 268 590
Toronto 976 766 850 742 893 731
Washington, D.C. 878 666 598 487 796 411

# Tennessee Business By Air:

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.

# Tennessee Business By Water:

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 Business By Utilities:

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.

  • The TVA service area in Tennessee covers about 42,028 square miles, about 49 percent of TVA’s territory and 99.7 percent of Tennessee. This includes an electricity service area of 42,143 square miles and a watershed management area of 22,514 square miles.
  • In fiscal year 2017, TVA sold over 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to 61 municipals and 22 cooperatively owned utilities that distribute power in Tennessee.
  • Since 2000, the TVA system has delivered 99.999 percent transmission reliability. 
  • TVA’s power rates are 17% lower than the national average.
  • TVA has made the strategic decision to continually increase generation capacity through low-cost, carbon-free sources. To that end, TVA is continuing to expand its nuclear resources


  • 89% of Tennesseans live in census blocks where at least one provider offers broadband
  • The recently enacted Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act (TBAA) aims to spread broadband access to more Tennesseans while promoting practices that increase deployment and encourage broadband adoption. The legislation established the Broadband Accessbility Grant Program providing $30 million over a three-year period for deployment to unserved homes and businesses. TheTBAA also provides a tax credit to private service providers totaling $15 million over three years ($5 million per year) based on the purchase of broadband equipment used to provide broadband access in our most economically challenged counties. 
# Tennessee by Location and Infrastructure Awards:
  • #1 for Logistics Leaders (Memphis, 2016)
  • #2 for Best Infrastructure – CNBC ranked Tennessee as No. 2 for Best Infrastructure in its rankings of America’s Top States for Business (2017).
  • #1 in the Southeast (No. 2 nationally) for Best Infrastructure – Business Facilities (2017)
  • Tennessee ranks No. 1 in the  nation for employment per 1,000 jobs in transportation and material moving occupations (2017).

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.

Cates Landing—the only developable site on the Mississippi River above the 100-year floodplain between Memphis and Cairo, Illinois—offers 9,000 linear feet of slack water harbor operable year round, expandable to 14,000 linear feet. Strategically located adjacent to the port is Lake County’s 345-acre industrial park.

FedEx World Hub
Port of Memphis


rail systems, including 6 Class 1 railroads and 21 short-line railroads serving small communities and rural areas.


in the Southeast for Best Infrastructure - Business Facilities (2017)