FY2018 Yields Cargo Record at Port of Virginia
Driven by an increase in imports, The Port of Virginia completed fiscal year 2018 (FY18) having handled 2.8 million TEUs, which is a volume increase of 2.4 percent when compared with last fiscal year.
The port’s fiscal year closed June 30 and in that month the port handled 223,842 TEUs, which was a drop of 3.4 percent—about 7,800 TEUs—when compared with last June. As in April and May, June’s volumes were off when compared to the same months last year because of an ongoing effort to limit the number of empty containers flowing across the terminals during construction. The port is in the midst of a $700 million capacity expansion at its two primary container terminals, Virginia International Gateway (VIG) and Norfolk International Terminals (NIT).
“We finished the fiscal year in positive territory—our fourth consecutive fiscal year of growth,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “Our import container volume was up nearly seven percent, truck volume was up almost five percent, barge volume was up six percent and our volumes at Virginia Inland Port (VIP) and Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT) grew as well.
“We were off from our forecast,” Reinhart added, “but much of that can be attributed to the effort to limit the empty container imports and exports. As a result, our total empty container volume was down by more than 76,000 TEUs. What’s important is that our action is having its desired intent, which is to increase efficiency at the terminals and ensure that loaded containers are our priority right now.”
June’s volumes at VIP and RMT were up 21 percent and 66 percent, respectively; breakbulk tonnage increased 13 percent and total barge traffic was up 17 percent.
Reinhart is not measuring FY18’s success only in terms of volume. “We’ve made progress on many fronts throughout the year,” he said. “Our expansion is on schedule and on budget. The port continues to grow and act as a catalyst for commerce throughout the Commonwealth. And, we have the federal approval to begin the process to widen and deepen—55 feet—the commercial shipping channels serving the Norfolk Harbor.”
Among the Highlights of FY2018 at the Port of Virginia, August 2017 saw the biggest container ship to ever come to the US East Coast, the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt, making its first stop at The Port of Virginia. The Roosevelt’s vessel’s total capacity is 14,400 TEUs.
In September, the port became the newest member of the US Department of Agriculture’s Southeast In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot program. The program allows fresh fruit to Virginia from South America, benefitting importers of perishables.
In January 2018, construction on the $375 million capacity expansion at NIT began. The delivery of cargo conveyance equipment begins this summer with first new container stacks will come online in fall of 2018. Delivery of new cargo conveyance equipment for the VIG expansion began in earnest: eight low-emission diesel-electric shuttle trucks; four cantilever rail-mounted gantry cranes; and six rail-mounted gantry cranes (RMGs) arrive throughout the month at VIG as part the expansion.
In March, the port launched its trucker reservation system, or TRS, at NIT. The system allows the port to manage truck flow at the gates; it creates efficiency for terminal operations teams and for drivers; it provides greater visibility to cargo owners; and it is a planning tool for those moving cargo by truck. The trucker reservation system was launched at VIG in June.
Also in June, the US Army Corps of Engineers completed its study of the port’s Wider, Deeper, Safer effort and approved dredging the commercial shipping channels serving the Norfolk Harbor to 55 feet and widening certain. Delivery of 26 rail mounted gantries to VIG was completed.
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