Sustainability is one of our six core values. It is also one of the driving factors behind every decision we make at The Port of Virginia®. As a key economic engine for Virginia, we must ensure we can serve that critical role for generations to come. That means we must be sustainable financially, operationally and environmentally. As Stewards of Tomorrow®, it is our mission — and our privilege — to do so.
In fiscal year 2016, we handled a record-breaking 1.46 million containers — and did so more safely, swiftly and sustainably than ever. Further, we did so profitably for the second consecutive year. We were able to grow our rail volume by double digits, reduce our turn times and improve workplace safety — our highest priority. We welcomed the first 10,000 TEU (twenty-foot container equivalent unit) vessel through the newly opened locks of the Panama Canal and continued working with our partners at the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure our shipping channels are deep enough, wide enough and safe enough for this new era of large container ships. In anticipation of the expected increases in volume, we embarked on a capacity-building project on a scale unlike anything ever done here before.
Engaging with and educating our communities remains a priority. Our Marine Incident Response Team (MIRT) welcomed its 25th class of first responders from across the globe to our world-renowned Marine Firefighting School. As reliance on technology becomes more necessary, we work with partners, including the U.S. Coast Guard, to train against cyber security attacks. In support of our mission to improve Virginia's waterways, our Aid to Local Ports Program provided $1 million to cities throughout our region for projects including dredging, dock and slip upgrades, wharf improvements and jetty rehabilitation.
We have a clear path forward and are using our values to guide us as we plan for our future. With strong support, vision and leadership from our Board of Commissioners, our General Assembly and Administration, we are using the momentum gained over the past two years to propel us forward with confidence and clarity.
Sustainability starts with our people. It takes innovation, creativity and a drive for continual improvement, but we cannot do it alone. It will take all of our efforts. We invite you to join us and become Stewards of Tomorrow.
John F. Reinhart, CEO and Executive Director