Virginia’s Calendar Year-to-Date Cargo Volume Up Nearly 4% Despite Soft November

December 10, 2019

Contact: Joseph D. Harris, Spokesman
(757) 683-2137 / Office
(757) 675-8087 / Cell

Virginia’s Calendar Year-to-Date Cargo Volume Up Nearly 4% Despite Soft November
Tariffs on Some Port, Soybean Exports Waived; Dredging to 55-Feet is Underway

NORFOLK, VA – The Port of Virginia’s® calendar-year-to-date growth is nearly 4 percent ahead of the same period last year, an increase of more than 98,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units).

November’s cargo volumes were down more than 5 percent – 12,900 TEUs — when compared with November 2018 and are the result of a late Thanksgiving holiday that pushed some vessel calls into December, the ongoing tariffs and overall trade uncertainty. Still, the port is on course in 2019 to its fifth record-setting year for cargo growth, said John F. Reinhart, the CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. There is still a month to go in the year.

“The trade environment continues to present challenges and we are adapting,” Reinhart said. “Our agricultural export volumes are down and are reflective of the ongoing the tariffs. We are hopeful there will be some rebound in this trade segment as the Chinese government is set to relax some of the tariffs on U.S. exports of pork products and soybeans.

“We are focusing on those things that we can control like providing world-class service to all of our customers, the cargo owners and port users. We are also driving the reliable, efficient and safe movement of the cargo flowing across the terminals, diversifying the types of cargo moving in-and-out of this port and continuing the capacity expansion project at NIT (Norfolk International Terminals).”

On a calendar year-to-date basis (Jan. – Nov.) overall TEU volume is up 3.8 percent; rail, flat; Virginia Inland Port, down 12 percent; total barge moves, up 18.5 percent; Richmond Marine Terminal volume, up 18.7 percent; and truck moves, up 3.6 percent. Breakbulk tonnage and vehicle units were down 14 and 18 percent, respectively.

Turn-times for motor carriers, dwell-time for rail cargo, and productivity at the berth continue to improve and another initiative, the channel widening and deepening project is underway. This project, Reinhart said, will hold even more benefits for customers, the cargo owners and port users.

“The work to widen and deepen our channels to 55-feet-and-beyond is underway, nearly two-and-half-years ahead of schedule,” Reinhart said. “By 2024, Virginia will be home to the U.S. East Coast’s deepest and safest port, with the land- and waterside assets to handle the biggest ships afloat. The Port of Virginia is evolving, innovating, listening and growing. It is all of the port’s users and the Virginia economy that benefit.”

November Cargo Snapshot

  • Total TEUs – 226,982, down, 5.4%
  • Loaded Export TEUs – 77,241, flat
  • Loaded Import TEUs – 103,410 down, 7.8%
  • Total Containers – 126,063, down 5.7%
  • Virginia Inland Port Containers – 1,996, down 29.8%
  • Total Rail Containers – 40,425, down 10.7%
  • Total Truck Containers – 81,036, down 4.7%
  • Total Barge Containers – 4,602, up 35.4%
  • Richmond Barge Containers – 3,069, up 35.9%

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. An economic impact study from The College of William and Mary shows that in fiscal year 2018, The Port of Virginia helped to create more than 397,000 jobs and generate $92 billion in total economic impact throughout the Commonwealth.