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Location and Transportation

The Greater Fort Smith Region is the primary gateway to northwestern Arkansas, with easy access for shipping, receiving and manufacturing solutions in all directions. This desirable location brings a competitive edge to many of our regional businesses. It’s hometown living with all the major metro advantages.

Fort Smith and its regional community are strategically located in a virtual who’s who of major metropolitan areas and highway systems. This proximity makes major connections and distribution channels a simple equation. In all directions, your market is within your reach. Maybe that’s why so many major corporations are located here: ABF Corporation, Baldor Electric Company, Rheem Manufacturing, Graphic Packaging, Whirlpool, O.K. Industries, Gerber Products Company, Hiram Walker, Georgia-Pacific, Mars Petcare and Kraft-Planters.

Fort Smith is conveniently located less than 165 miles northwest of Little Rock, 120 miles east of Tulsa, 280 miles northeast of Dallas, 420 miles southwest of St. Louis, and 290 miles west of Memphis. Whether you’re traveling by land, sea, air or even rail, the Greater Fort Smith Region enjoys the benefits of being a major transportation hub for the mid-south. Home to many major corporations and more than 300,000 people, the region takes advantage of all major modes of transportation to help people get where they desire to go.

By Land

The Greater Fort Smith Region is easily accessible via major Interstate 40 – the nation’s main east/west corridor covering North Carolina to California. The recent opening of the I-540 extension also allows for easy north/south travel – especially between Fort Smith and northwestern Arkansas, including Fayetteville, Rogers and Bentonville.

The Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce is also working extensively with city leaders and state officials for the development of I-49. When completed, the Interstate will open emerging business markets in Central and South America, Canadian markets and major mid-American trading centers by providing access from Canada to Louisiana. The region is also serviced by national Highways 64, 71 and 271.

According to the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, more than 32 billion miles are driven on these Arkansas roads each year. The Fort Smith Public Transit also provides public transportation and operates 20-passenger minibuses that run Monday through Saturday. The service is only $1 and offers curb-to-curb service along four routes through the city, with all four having a common point at Central Mall. The city also operates a 25-seat trolley that travels through Fort Smith’s downtown and historic districts. For more information or for a schedule and routes, call 479-783-6464.

By Air


The Fort Smith Regional Airport is a vital transportation outlet for the citizens of western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. Established in 1939 with two sod runways, it has quickly grown into a major airline terminal with full air transportation access. Three airlines – American, Delta and Northwest – offer daily flights to and from Fort Smith with service to Atlanta, Dallas and Memphis. These regional airlines offer one-stop service to practically anywhere in the world from the nationally renowned first-class terminal.

A complete FBO services military and general aviation alike, and the airport’s two runways can accommodate the largest aircraft in the world. TAC Air (479-646-1611) offers complete FBO services with excellent customer service, and the airport’s runways have played host to numerous military aircraft, including the local 188th Air National Guard A-10 Warthogs and even the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds during the 2008 Regional Air Show.

The Fort Smith Regional Airport is conveniently located five miles east of downtown Fort Smith and offers short-and long-term parking at competitive rates. Car rentals are also located on-site, including Hertz (479-441-3200) and National Car Rental (479-478-0376).

By Sea

The Port of Fort Smith on the Arkansas River offers a 9-foot ice-free channel, open year round with low-cost transportation between Fort Smith and all points reached by navigable waterways. Port services are available with numerous carriers that serve Fort Smith. The public port is in operation with two on-site warehouses – an 80,000- square-foot heated warehouse and an additional 17,200- square-foot warehouse. The port also has another 120,000-square-foot warehouse located off-site. The port has two docks, two cranes with a 65-ton capacity and lift trucks with a 30,000-pound capacity.

The Port of Fort Smith is part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System that runs through the heart of the nation. The waterway not only connects the Greater Fort Smith Region to ports of the world but also with America’s entire inland waterway system from Houston and New Orleans to Pittsburgh and Minneapolis. For more information, call the Fort Smith Port Terminal at 479-785-2837.

Five Rivers Distribution services Van Buren and has the newest intermodal port facility on the Arkansas River System. The port is located at river mile 299 and is served by Union Pacific and A&M railroads. Five Rivers has three handling docks, one of which is covered and served by a 60,000-pound overhead crane that traverses the length of the 76,500-square-foot climate-controlled U.S. Customs Bonded Warehouse.

By Rail

Commercial and passenger rail service is provided by the Arkansas-Missouri Railroad (479-782-8821), the Fort Smith Railroad (479-783-6776), and the Kansas City Southern Railroad (918-775-3155). These providers offer freight service to Fort Smith and one shipment daily from Fort Smith.


The Arkansas-Missouri Railroad is an independent, class III railroad serving a 139-mile corridor from Fort Smith to Monett, Missouri. The company also operates a passenger excursion train that travels through the scenic and rugged Boston Mountains via the Fort Smith, Springdale and Van Buren depots. The Fort Smith Railroad is a handling line carrier for Union Pacific Railroad and operates 18 miles of track servicing Fort Smith, South Fort Smith and Barling. Kansas City Southern Railroad operates 3,226 track miles in a 10-state region as far north as Minnesota and as far south as Mexico.

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