The Port of Virginia® has processed 1.67 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) thus far in fiscal year 2018, and increase of 4.4 percent when compared with the same seven-month period last year.
“Our fiscal-year volumes are ahead of last year, but our January cargo totals were less-than-forecast,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA). “Snow in Virginia is a reality this time of year and two lost workdays in the early part of January as the result the blizzard are reflected in our totals. We have restored service and are in positive territory for early February.”
The Jan. 3 blizzard impacted the movement of freight well beyond the Norfolk Harbor: there was disruption and delay to logistics and supply chains, rail and truck movement, vessel calls and to the overall flow of intermodal traffic along the U.S. East Coast and in parts of the Midwest. A lighter, mid-month snow also had an impact on the flow of cargo.
In January, the port processed 220,534 TEUs, which is 3.5 percent, or 7,982 fewer units when compared with last January. Cargo volumes at Virginia Inland Port (VIP) and Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT) were up 5 and 4 percent, respectively. Truck volume was up 2 percent while rail and barge traffic fell 9 and 5 percent, respectively.
On a fiscal year basis VIP volume is up 4.6 percent; RMT, up 12 percent; total barge traffic up 8 percent; truck volume up 8 percent; vehicle units up 16 percent; breakbulk tonnage up 2 percent; and rail volume down 1 percent.
“Our growth will continue in FY18. But, additional volumes coupled with construction at VIG (Virginia International Gateway) and having taken 33 acres of container yard at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) out of service are straining operations and presenting challenges to our delivery of service and doing so at a cost,” Reinhart said. “Our gate productivity at VIG is not up to standards, particularly for our motor carrier partners, and we are focused on addressing and improving service.”
The first six rail-mounted gantry cranes arrived last week at VIG and were safely off-loaded without issue. These cranes, Reinhart said, are part of the solution. Additionally, Portsmouth Marine Terminal is an outlet that is growing in importance as vessel services and cargo are being relocated there from VIG and NIT.
“By mid-April theses cranes and the first three new container stacks will be fully operational and we will be folding that capacity into the operation. This should provide a measure of relief and improve throughput. We will be bringing the new cranes and stacks on line at VIG as they are ready and all of them will be operational by August.
“We have also announced that March 1 will be the go-live date for our motor carriers’ reservation system at NIT. We are forecasting growth and we must be able to manage the flow of trucks into the port and plan our operations accordingly. The reservation system gives us that capability.”
January Cargo Snapshot
- Loaded Export TEUs – 76,294, down 15%
- Loaded Import TEUs – 104,150, up 2.8%
- Containers – 125,369, down, 2.4%
- Virginia Inland Port Containers – 3,100, up 4.7%
- Rail Containers – 44,290, down 9.4%
- Truck Containers – 76,984, up 2.3%
- Total Barge Containers – 4,095, down 5.2%
- Richmond Barge Containers – 2,210, up 4%
- Vehicle Units – 2,520, down 38.6%
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. In fiscal year 2013, The Port of Virginia provided more than 530,000 jobs and generated $88.4 billion in total economic impact throughout the Commonwealth.