Virginia Begins 2023 With Solid Volumes as Loaded Exports Grow Nearly 40% vs Last Year

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Nearly 290,000 TEUs Processed as Focus on Operational Efficiency Continues

February 21, 2022

NORFOLK, VA – The Port of Virginia® processed nearly 290,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in January with growth in loaded exports accounting for more than one-third of that volume.

The port’s total TEU volume increased 10 percent when compared with last January. Loaded exports helped carry the month with growth of nearly 27,000 TEUs, an increase of 37 percent; imports were up nearly 7,000 TEUs, or 5.5 percent. In addition, the port had 143 vessel calls, which is an increase of 36 versus last January.

“Our year is underway with solid volumes report and to see the export side of our business growing is important,” said Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “It is a sign that shippers of American-made goods and raw materials are choosing The Port of Virginia as their East Coast gateway. Another contributor is the fact that we are maintaining our operational efficiency. Motor carriers are moving through the gates in 40 minutes or less, our dwell times for rail cargo are low and we have had excellent productivity at the berths.”

On a fiscal-year basis (July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023) the port’s cargo volumes are up 1.6 percent: loaded exports are up 10 percent and rail and barge volumes up 10 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

Edwards said the interest from ocean carriers and cargo owners in The Port of Virginia remains very high because it is maintaining its efficiency while pushing ahead with critical infrastructure projects like the expansion of the Central Rail Yard at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) and renovation of that terminal’s North Berth.

In addition, the port is making progress on its goal of becoming a carbon neutral operation by 2040. Since Jan. 1, the port has announced that Virginia Inland Port, its intermodal terminal in Front Royal, is receiving all of its operational electricity needs from renewable energy sources. Moreover, four new all-electric yard tractors are being used in the cargo operation at NIT.

“These moves aligns us with some of the world’s leading ocean carriers, retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and multinational corporations that are developing, or using green supply chains. It is also a strategic business decision,” Edwards said. “Consumers worldwide are demanding clean, green supply chains and our work puts The Port of Virginia at the forefront of this change.”

January Cargo Snapshot (2023, percentage change vs. 2022)

  • Total TEUs – 288,388, up 10.1%%
  • Loaded Export TEUs – 96,433, up 38.6%
  • Loaded Import TEUs – 134,595, up 5.5%
  • Total Containers – 160,432, up 11%
  • Virginia Inland Port Containers – 2,385, up 23.4%
  • Ship Calls – 143, up 33.6%


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 nearly 437,000 jobs, and generates more than $100 billion in total economic impact throughout the Commonwealth on an annual basis. The port is a significant contributing factor in Virginia winning CNBC’s annual “Best State for Business” award in 2019, 2020 and 2021.