Port Sets New All-Time Mark for Monthly Cargo Volume; More Than 270,000 TEUs Move Across Virginia in October

November 9, 2018

Contact: Joseph D. Harris Spokesman
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Port Sets New All-Time Mark for Monthly Cargo Volume; More Than 270,000 TEUs Move Across Virginia in October
Volumes at Virginia Inland Port Up Nearly 18%

NORFOLK, VA – The Port of Virginia® in October processed more than 270,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) and in doing so set a new record for the amount of cargo volume handled in a single month, besting the previous record set in 2017 by more than 5,000 units.

The record was driven by a 2 percent increase in loaded imports and a 14.5 percent increase in export empties. John F. Reinhart, the CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, said as the port’s capacity expansion projects at Virginia International Gateway (VIG) and Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) move forward, the effort is to draw-down the empty container inventory to better focus on loaded units and building efficiency.

“As construction progresses at VIG and NIT we have to remain flexible and be ready with those decisions that help to ensure the efficient movement of loaded containers across our terminals,” Reinhart said. “Our emphasis is on loaded exports and imports, and reducing the number of empties on terminal is an approach that has been successful here.

“The record volume, especially during construction, put a significant amount of pressure on the gates and there were some trying moments last month for motor carriers. We are taking steps to create greater flexibility in our gate hours and add more chassis to the pool to build fluidity. The motor carriers are critical to our success and we are working to create consistency for them when they are on terminal.”

October’s record, Reinhart said, could not have been achieved without teamwork across the port. “The effort of our labor partners in this record must be emphasized,” Reinhart said. “The motor carriers also played an important role as we processed nearly 100,000 truck moves. The port’s operations team needs to be recognized as well for its flexibility, planning and its focus on safety and efficiency.”

On a fiscal year basis (starting July 1), loaded exports are flat and imports are up nearly 4 percent. Volume at Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal is 16.5 percent ahead of last October and cargo moving on the Richmond Express barge service is up nearly 51 percent. Both rail and truck volume were up, comparatively, as well.


  • At VIG, all (26) of the new rail-mounted gantry cranes (RMGs) have been delivered and the testing is underway to bring the new stacks into service; the last stack is scheduled to come online in January 2019.
  • The upgrade to the N4 terminal operating system is complete and it is supporting our reservation system for motor carriers.
  • In September, four new lanes at VIG’s truck gate were brought online; the terminal now has 17 lanes at its gate.
  • The progress on the berth construction is continuing and is tracking for completion this month.
  • The four new ship-to-shore cranes are in the final stages of fabrication and are scheduled to be delivered to VIG in January 2019.
  • Phase I of the VIG rail yard is operational and the Phase II construction is underway.
  • At NIT, the expansion is continuing and three new stacks are in service. Work on the second group (of three) is underway and is scheduled to be operational by late December.
  • Another shipment of six rail-mounted gantry cranes (RMGs) arrived at NIT in late October and undergoing final assembly.

October Cargo Snapshot

  • Total TEUs – 270,538, up 1.9%
  • Loaded Export TEUs – 83,577, down 4.8%
  • Loaded Import TEUs – 127,677, up 2.1%
  • Total Containers – 150,931, up .9%
  • Breakbulk Tonnage – 11,738 (tons), down 23.8%
  • Virginia Inland Port Containers – 3,958, up 17.8%
  • Total Rail Containers – 47,804, down 5.2%
  • Total Truck Containers – 98,204, up 4.1%
  • Total Barge Containers – 4,923, up 1.5%
  • Richmond Express Containers – 3,261, up 31%
  • Vehicle Units – 1,003 – down 56.3%

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.