The Hiwassee River serves as a natural boundary at McMinn County’s southern edge in the City of Calhoun. The Hiwassee is navigable year-round and flows into the Tennessee River in neighboring Meigs County. Transport to the Hiwassee River is through the Chickamauga Dam in Chattanooga. The Tennessee River is a part of the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway connecting east Tennessee with 21 states, the Mississippi River, and the Great Lakes. The waterway shortens the shipping trip between Tennessee and the Gulf of Mexico by 882 miles, enabling products to arrive at their Gulf destination eight to nine days earlier.
The closes river ports for cargo shipment to McMinn County are the Port of Tellico and Fort Loudoun Terminal.
The Port of Tellico, located in neighboring Monroe County, is located within 20 miles of the southern border of McMinn County. This facility has two mooring cells and a railroad spur for offloading.
The Port of Savannah, the largest single container terminal in North America, is the closest seaport to McMinn County. It is located within 395 miles of McMinn County. The Port of Savannah offers two rail roads, Norfolk Southern and CSX, on terminal; Over 4 million square feet of warehouse space, immediate access to two major interstates; 9,700 feet of contiguous berth space, and has the largest concentration of import distribution centers on the East Coast.