The Wilmington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for two deep water ports and over 300 miles of federal navigation projects along the North Carolina coast stretching from Norfolk, Virginia to Little River, South Carolina.  Some of Wilmington District's projects include: Wilmington Harbor, Morehead City Harbor, Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, and other shallow draft projects.

Wilmington Harbor and Morehead City Harbor are the largest of these navigation projects. In 2012, 600 vessels, carrying over 6,500,000 tons, called on the thirty miles of Federally Authorized Navigation Channels that comprise both Wilmington Harbor and Morehead City Harbor. Wilmington is one of the few South Atlantic ports with readily available berths and storage areas for containers and cargo. Morehead City Harbor handles both breakbulk and bulk cargo and is the second largest importer in the country for natural rubber.

The Navigation mission is to provide safe, reliable, efficient, effective, and environmentally sustainable waterborne transportation systems (i.e. channels, harbors, and waterways) for movement of commerce, national security needs and recreation. Responsibilities include planning and constructing new navigation channels, ports, and harbors, and maintaining channel depths along coastal channels, ports, and harbors.

The navigation program is vital to the nation’s economy. Our nation’s coastal transportation system encompasses a network of navigable channels, ports, harbors, and infrastructure maintained by the Corps, as well as publicly and privately owned vessels, terminals, inter-modal connections, shipyards, and repair facilities. Coastal navigation is a key element of State and local government economic development and job-creation efforts, and is essential in maintaining economic competitiveness and national security.