Port Earns 19th Consecutive River Star; Honor Recognizes Ongoing Environmental Stewardship Efforts

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Reducing Carbon Emissions, Increasing Resiliency Earn Award

NORFOLK, VA – The Port of Virginia’s® ongoing effort to help protect the health of the Elizabeth River has, again, been recognized by a local organization dedicated to restoring and preserving the health of the river and Norfolk Harbor.

The port recently received its 19th consecutive River Star Business Award, Sustained Distinguished Performance, from the Elizabeth River Project (ERP), a regional non-profit that a focuses on protecting the river and its watershed through supporting and promoting sustainable development and redevelopment, shoreline restoration and education.

“We take seriously the effort to be a good neighbor and steward of this vital waterway,” said Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “The region’s waterways are critical to The Port of Virginia, but there are many other users as well. We are committed to doing our best to keep these waterways and our local environment healthy for all to enjoy.”

Since 2001, ERP has recognized the port for pollution prevention, storm water control initiatives and habitat restoration like the development of oyster reefs and wetlands. This year, ERP recognized the port’s ongoing effort to reduce carbon emissions and resiliency projects. Those efforts include the optimization project at Norfolk International Terminals’ south berth, the thrice-weekly barge service that operates between Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT) and the port’s terminals in the Norfolk Harbor, and overall resiliency efforts.

  • NIT Optimization: The port invested $482-million to completely renovate the terminal’s south berth and container stack yard. The investment included retiring multiple pieces of aging diesel-powered equipment with state-of-the art electric and hybrid units where possible.
  • RMT Barge Service: The port increased the amount of cargo it moved on the barge by more than 14 percent in 2020 (vs. 2019). Growing barge volumes help reduce truck volume on I-64 and correlating carbon emissions.
  • Resiliency: In addition to accounting for sea level rise, the port’s resiliency efforts are designed to address a number of potential disruptions. Through comprehensive assessments, modeling and analysis, the port identified critical infrastructure that may be exposed to hazards associated with flooding or extreme weather events.

River Star recipients are chosen through peer review of documented results. Program participants are encouraged to focus on large opportunities to reduce toxic pollution or restore and conserve wildlife habitat.