Port Posts its Busiest May; Fiscal-Year-to-Date Volume up Nearly 4%

June 7, 2019

Contact: Joseph D. Harris Spokesman
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Port Posts its Busiest May; Fiscal-Year-to-Date Volume up Nearly 4%
Completion of Rail Yard at VIG Signals End of Two-Plus Year Expansion Project

NORFOLK, VA – Record cargo volumes are moving across The Port of Virginia® and doing so with efficiency as a result of expanded container handling capacity at its two primary container terminals.

In May, the port processed nearly 261,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) making it the busiest May in the port’s history. The month’s strong cargo volumes were a follow-up to the best April in the port’s history, when nearly 246,000 TEUs were processed.

“We have moved more than a half-million TEUs in two months and are providing a very high level of service and efficiency to the ocean carriers and cargo owners,” says John F. Reinhart, the CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority.

“Virginia International Gateway (VIG) is fully-functional. The additional gates, expanded stack-yard, new berth and ship-to-shore cranes and technology overlay are all working in concert to provide increased productivity. We are working through punch-list items toward final acceptance and looking forward to a July ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“We’ve built a world-class facility and the team behind it continues to fine-tune the operation to drive optimal performance. As move into the thick of peak season we are ready to meet the needs of our customers.”

May saw increases across almost all phases of the operation. Container tonnage was up more than 5 percent; total rail volume up more than 4 percent; total barge volume up more than 5 percent; volume at Richmond Marine Terminal up nearly 12 percent; and truck volume was up almost 11 percent.

May Cargo Snapshot

  • Total TEUs – 260,894, up 10.1%
  • Loaded Export TEUs – 88,065, up 3.4%
  • Loaded Import TEUs – 119,592, up 10.1%
  • Total Containers – 146,018, up 8.3%
  • Total Rail Containers – 49,775, up 4.4%
  • Total Truck Containers – 91,802, up 10.7%
  • Total Barge Containers – 4,441, up 5.2%
  • Richmond Barge Containers – 2,752, up 11.6%

On May 31, the port debuted the completed on-dock rail yard at VIG to a select audience of customers, partners, cargo owners and stakeholders. The rail yard now has nearly 20,000 feet of new track and is supported by four cantilever rail-mounted gantry cranes.

“Both of the East’s Class I railroads, (CSX and Norfolk Southern) provide double stack service to and from VIG. Combine that service with the investment we’ve made in our rail operation and we are well-positioned to capture more rail cargo,” Reinhart says. “Our rail reach into the Midwest is expanding and we are aggressively marketing our capabilities. It is realistic to expect that we will be moving 40 percent of our overall cargo volume by rail by 2022.”

The expansion at Norfolk International Terminals is progressing according to schedule. There are 12 new stacks served by 24 new RMGs 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 this month; and phase IV (six stacks) is set to begin in September.

“We are on our way to another volume record for fiscal year 2019 and closely monitoring the trade environment for any effects that additional tariffs may have on our business as we go forward,” Reinhart said. “These unforeseen changes are always of concern, but we are very optimistic about the long-term success of The Port of Virginia. To help ensure sustainability in the near- and long-term, we are working to diversify our cargo mix and this strategy will serve as a hedge during challenging trade environments.”

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 from The College of William and Mary shows that The Port of Virginia helps to create more than 530,000 jobs and generated $88.4 billion in total economic impact throughout the Commonwealth on an annual basis.