FY2019 Yields Cargo Record, Completion of Construction at VIG, Progress on Multiple Projects

July 23, 2019

Contact: Joseph D. Harris
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FY2019 Yields Cargo Record, Completion of Construction at VIG, Progress on Multiple Projects
Volumes Climb While Construction Progressed; VIG Ready for Business

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, Virginia Secretary Shannon Valentine stand with CEO and executive director John Reinhart at the VIG celebration

NORFOLK, VA – Driven by an increase in imports, The Port of Virginia® completed fiscal year 2019 (FY19) having handled a record 2.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), which is a volume increase of 4 percent when compared with last fiscal year.

“We finished the fiscal year in positive territory – our fifth consecutive fiscal year of growth,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “Our import loads were up more than five percent, truck volume was up almost four percent and barge volume was up nearly ten percent. All of this was accomplished while we were under construction at VIG (Virginia International Gateway) and NIT (Norfolk International Terminals) and it was done with a continuous emphasis of safety.”

The port’s fiscal year closed June 30, and in that month the port handled 239,329 TEUs, which is an increase of nearly 7 percent – 15,490 TEUs — when compared with last June. The port’s  volumes in the fourth quarter of FY19 have been increasing ahead of the arrival of peak cargo season.

“Our volumes are increasing and we are processing that volume with greater efficiency because we have completed the optimization at VIG, where we are on-line and fully-operational,” Reinhart said. “What we achieved in fiscal year 2019 is a testament to the professionalism of our labor partners and the entire Port of Virginia team.

“At VIG there is greater flow at our gates, the motor carriers’ reservation system is driving sub-40-minute turn times, we have more cranes and a longer berth where we can handle multiple ULCVs at once and we are building double-stack trains heading to and coming from Midwest markets faster than ever before. This is truly a world-class facility.”

John G. Milliken, the chairman of the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners, said the success of FY19 must also be looked at from the perspective of how the port managed its growth as construction progressed.

“During construction our focus was on efficiency, delivery of service, maintaining our business and then timing growth with the completion of work at VIG,” Milliken said. “There were times of the year when we purposefully controlled our growth because we did not want volumes to get beyond our capabilities, which meant we had to be strategic in our use of Portsmouth Marine Terminal. Our strategy worked. Now, we are aggressively marketing a world-class port. The investment and effort are paying off.”

The expansion at Norfolk International Terminals is progressing according to schedule, Reinhart said. There are 12 new container stacks served by 24 new rail-mounted gantry cranes already in service. Work on phase II of the stack yard expansion (six stacks) began in December 2018 and is nearing completion; work on phase III (six stacks) began in June; and phase IV (six stacks) is set to begin in September. Six new rail-mounted gantry cranes arrived at NIT today (July 24).

“The work at NIT is past the half-way mark and that project is on schedule and on-budget,” he said.

Reinhart said The Port of Virginia made significant gains during the last 12 months well beyond construction and increased volume. He pointed to having handled more than 270,000 TEUs in a single month, an all-time high; marking 10 years of success with the Richmond barge service; securing a federal grant to help expand capabilities at Virginia Inland Port; successful implementation of the reservation system for motor carriers; and the smooth delivery of four new ship-to-shore cranes, which are part of the VIG project.

“We did a lot of things right this past year. We weren’t perfect, but we never lost sight of our goals and our values,” Reinhart said. “We are focusing on bringing the work at NIT to a close in 2020 and seeing the work begin on Wider, Deeper, Safer, which will make Virginia home to the deepest port on the U.S. East Coast.

“The Port of Virginia is on a path to sustainability and success for decades to come and this will help to drive job creation and investment across the state. There is still much work to be done and we are up to the task.”

Fiscal year 2019 (July 1 – June 30) cargo highlights:

  • TEUs: 2,938,856; up 3.9%
  • Loaded Export TEUs – 962,586, down 4%
  • Loaded Import TEUs – 1,371,289, up 5.2%
  • Total Containers – 1,651,491, up 3%
  • Virginia Inland Port Containers – 37,940, up 3.4%]
  • Rail Containers – 563,898, up 0.8%
  • Truck Containers – 1,033,290, up 3.8%
  • Total Barge Containers – 54,303, up 9.7%
  • Richmond Barge Containers – 33,484, up 21.2%
  • Breakbulk (in tons) – 172,691, down 12.1%
  • Vehicle Units – 22,810 – down 31%

June cargo highlights:

  • Total TEUs – 239,329, up 6.9%%
  • Loaded Export TEUs – 76,535, down 5%
  • Loaded Import TEUs – 112,664, up 6.3%
  • Total Containers – 134,371, up 5.6%
  • Virginia Inland Port Containers – 2,003, down 44.7%
  • Rail Containers – 41,876, up 2%
  • Truck Containers – 88,014, up 7.5%
  • Total Barge Containers – 4,481 , up 3.7%
  • Richmond Barge Containers – 2,945 , up 2.7%
  • Breakbulk (in tons) – 12,197, down 23.1%
  • Vehicle Units – 1,206, down 46.7%

Highlights of FY2019:

July 2018

  • The heavy-load vessel Happy Buccaneer arrives at NIT with the first group of six RMGs, which are the centerpieces of the $375 million capacity expansion project underway at that terminal. The vessel’s arrival signals the start of an 18-month cycle that will see the delivery of 60 new RMGs to NIT.

August 2018

  • In his testimony before the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in Washington, D.C., Reinhart says that the expansion of VIG could be slowed if additional tariffs are imposed on Chinese-made cranes; in 2017 the port ordered four ship-to-shore cranes that are part of the VIG capacity expansion project. The USTR takes the testimony of Reinhart and others under advisement and ultimately decides against any new tariffs.

September 2018

  • Four new inbound truck gates were placed into service at VIG expanding capacity at the terminal’s gate complex by 30 percent.

October 2018

  • A new all-time mark for the amount of cargo handled in a month is set. More than 270,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) were processed, besting the previous record set in 2017 by more than 5,000 units.
  • The Wider, Deeper, Safer project to deepen and widen the Norfolk Harbor’s commercial shipping channels is given full federal authorization with approval of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. The project’s inclusion in the bill clears the path for The Port of Virginia to become the deepest and safest port on the U.S East Coast.

November 2018

  • Heavy construction on the second phase of the rail yard expansion at VIG begins, with the first phase having been completed on time and on budget. As part of VIG’s expansion, the size of the terminal’s on-dock, double-stack rail operation is being doubled to include nearly 20,000 feet of new track and four new cantilever rail-mounted gantry cranes.

December 2018

  • The port celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Richmond Express barge service. The thrice-weekly barge service moved 31,500 containers in 2018, its best year on record.
  • The port announces an investment of $26 million for two projects at the Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal. The projects are designed to improve traffic flow and safety on a local road and expand the terminal’s overall cargo handling capabilities.

January 2019

  • Four new ship-to-shore (STS) cranes are arrive in the Norfolk Harbor and make their way to VIG. The cranes are the largest in the Americas and are able to service container vessels, regardless of their size, for decades to come. The cranes are among the final pieces of hardware for the $320 million VIG expansion project.

February 2019

  • Following the successful completion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Southeast In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot program, importers of perishables from South American countries can now move their cargo across The Port of Virginia The approval coincides with the port’s effort to expand its capacity to handle refrigerated (reefer) cargo.

March 2019

  • The port marks the one-year anniversary of the successful launch of its trucker reservation system, or TRS, at NIT. The system allows the port to manage truck flow at the gates; it creates efficiency for terminal operations teams and for drivers; it provides greater visibility to cargo owners; and it is a planning tool for those moving cargo by truck.
  • Twelve new container stacks at Norfolk International Terminals NIT began operating as the project to reconfigure and expand the terminal’s south container stack-yard moves forward according to schedule.

April 2019

  • ARREFF Terminals, a subsidiary of Fornazor International Inc., and the port enter into a long term agreement that allows ARREFF to develop a transload facility at NIT for agricultural commodities. The facility will be served by rail and when finished will more than triple the number of containers the company moves through the port.

May 2019

  • Phase II of the rail yard at VIG is complete and signals the end of more than two-and-a-half years of heavy construction at the terminal.
  • John F. Reinhart, the VPA’s CEO and executive director, gets inducted into the International Maritime Hall of Fame. The International Maritime Hall of Fame recognizes maritime visionaries, who through excellence in their company, organization, or services, best exemplify the qualities of futuristic thinking that will guide the maritime industry in the 21st Century.

June 2019

  • The Port of Virginia becomes the first U.S. port to join SEA\LNG, a multi-sector industry coalition, created to accelerate the widespread adoption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel. The coalition unites key players from across the LNG marine value chain to address the barriers to the adoption of LNG.

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.