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As Port Manages Movement of Empty Containers, May’s Volumes Dip; Inland Operations Continue Growth More New Stacks Coming Online at VIG This Month
NORFOLK, VA – The Port of Virginia® is managing the flow of empty containers as part of a larger move to drive cargo throughput during expansion at its two primary container terminals, Virginia International Gateway (VIG) and Norfolk International Terminals (NIT). May’s dip in cargo volumes reflect the tactical decision.
Last month, the port processed 236,893 TEUs, which is a decline of 4 percent, or 9,979 fewer units when compared with last May. Cargo volumes at Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT) and Virginia Inland Port (VIP) and were up 46 percent and 2 percent, respectively; barge volume was up 3 percent and rail was up 2 percent.
“Our May volumes dipped when compared with last year, but the drop was somewhat by design as we are asking our customers to limit the movement of empty containers to ensure that our effort during expansion is focused on loaded export and import boxes,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA). “Another factor is that last April, when the alliances went into service, there was an influx of volume moving across Virginia on the big ships that were taking advantage of our deep water and making first-in and last-out calls here. Now, as expected, the alliances have spread-out that volume across the East Coast.
“We continue to focus on consistency at the gates at VIG and while our effort is producing results, there is still work to do. The progress we are making on our expansion at both VIG and NIT is tangible. We are on schedule and on budget and moving forward every day.”
The port’s fiscal-year (July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018) volumes continue to track ahead of last year: total TEUs are up 3 percent; VIP volume is up 3.6 percent; RMT, up nearly 20 percent; total barge traffic up 5.2 percent; truck volume up 5 percent; vehicle units up nearly 3 percent; breakbulk tonnage up 5.1 percent; and rail volume is off .5 percent.
The port continues to introduce new capacity at VIG with three new container stacks set to come online in the middle of this month. The first stacks went to work the week of May 14, in conjunction with the successful launch of a new terminal operating system, Navis N4, at VIG.
“All 26 of the new rail-mounted gantry cranes for VIG have been delivered and we are preparing them for service,” Reinhart said. “As soon as the rails are ready, we can put these units in place and begin the powering-up and testing process to bring new stack capacity online.”
The port this month is also anticipating the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ final report on deepening the Norfolk Harbor’s commercial shipping channels to 55 feet and widening them in certain areas. The report, called the Chief’s Report, is expected to be released near the end of the month end and provide the necessary authorization to move ahead with the Wider, Deeper, Safer project.
In early June, the Virginia General Assembly approved $350 million for the Wider, Deeper, Safer project that will make The Port of Virginia the deepest and safest port on the U.S. East Coast.
May Cargo Snapshot
• Loaded Export TEUs – 85,159, down .8%
• Loaded Import TEUs – 108,592, up 8%
• Containers – 134,803, down 4.5%
• Virginia Inland Port Containers – 3,207, up 1.9%
• Rail Containers – 47,678, up 1.8%
• Truck Containers – 82,905, down 8.2%
• Total Barge Containers – 4,220 up 3.3%
• Richmond Barge Containers – 2,466, up 46.4%
• Vehicle Units – 3,782, up 352.4%
The Virginia Port Authority (VPA) is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The VPA owns and through its private operating subsidiary, Virginia International Terminals, LLC (VIT), operates four general cargo facilities Norfolk International Terminals, Portsmouth Marine Terminal, Newport News Marine Terminal and the Virginia Inland Port in Warren County. The VPA leases Virginia International Gateway and Richmond Marine Terminal. A recent economic impact study showed that The Port of Virginia provides more than 530,000 jobs and generates $88.4 billion in total economic impact throughout the Commonwealth.