The strong cargo performance was driven by an increase of more than 22 percent in loaded import containers, which lead to increase in truck, rail and barge volumes. The port’s March volumes were disrupted by the Chinese New Year, which led to the late arrival of vessels and blank sailings: April’s import volume reflected a return of the cargo.
“We knew April was going to be a productive month and as we move toward peak season, this and higher volume levels will become normal, but we are more prepared for these increases than ever before,” says John F. Reinhart, the CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “We are just weeks from completion at Virginia International Gateway (VIG) and debuting this world-class facility in its entirety. The productivity and efficiency we are seeing there is going to be instrumental in managing and effectively processing peak season volumes.”
As volume grows, the amount cargo moving over the port’s inland operations, Virginia Inland Port (VIP) and Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT), is increasing in parallel. At VIP volume was up nearly 13 percent, or 367 containers, and at RMT volume was up more than 30 percent, or 2,957 containers. Rail volume was up 18 percent, or more than 52,000 containers, and total barge volume was up nearly 24 percent, or 936 containers.
To date at VIG, 13 new container stacks serviced by 26 new rail-mounted gantry cranes (RMGs) have been delivered, four new truck gates have been opened, a new terminal operating system has been implemented, the berth has been lengthened by nearly 800 linear feet and four new ship-to-shore cranes have been placed into service. The last step is completing the second phase of the on-dock rail yard.
“We are going to be fully-operational at VIG in very short order,” Reinhart says. “The project is on-budget, on-time and we are out aggressively marketing the benefits of doing business at The Port of Virginia.”
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 (12 stacks) begins this month.
April Cargo Snapshot
- Total TEUs – 245,933, up 12.2%
- Loaded Export TEUs – 85,378, down 1%
- Loaded Import TEUs – 119,266, up 22.2%
- Total Containers – 139,004, up 11.3%
- Breakbulk (tons) – 13,018, up 4.1%
- Virginia Inland Port Containers – 3,272, up 12.6%
- Total Rail Containers – 52,052, up 18%
- Total Truck Containers – 82,047, up 6.8%
- Total Barge Containers – 4,905, up 23.6%
- Richmond Barge Containers – 2,957, up 30.2%
- Vehicle Units – 1,797, up 132.2%
Source: Port of Virginia