New Barge to Arrive at Richmond Marine Terminal Today
The Port of Virginia’s new barge – the Richmond Express – arrived in the Norfolk Harbor last Thursday and set sail on Sunday to arrive at Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT) today.
This new barge helps reduce congestion on I-64 and wear-and-tear on the road by taking trucks off of that roadway and moving the cargo by barge.
Thus far into fiscal year 2017 (which began July 1, 2016), 11,225 containers have moved between Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT) and the Norfolk Harbor by barge, a 41 percent increase when compared with the same period in fiscal year 2016. This equates to 22,450 fewer round-trip, truck trips on regional roads. Further, the configuration of the new barge gives the port flexibility to move refrigerated containers, which is important to owners of cold cargo.
The Richmond Express made its first appearance at a Port of Virginia Terminal on Thursday, February 2, at Portsmouth Marine Terminal. While there the barge underwent some test loading and the containers from the old barge were transferred over to the new unit.
The barge being replaced is same size and capacity, but its configuration is a challenge to efficient loading and
unloading. The new barge is wider and longer and allows for more space in between the containers.
The barge was built in Indiana, moved down the Mississippi to New Orleans, round the Florida Keys and up the US East Coast to the Port of Virginia.
The Richmond Express has the capability to handle refrigerated containers with generators (gen-sets) to keep them cool. The earlier barge did not allow for this as the configuration was too tight to allow for the gen-set mounts.
The port will install a power pack in late 2017 or early 2018 to handle reefer units by plug instead of individual gen-set units. The purchase of the power pack was made possible by a $476,000 grant from the Maritime Administration (MARAD) via its Marine Highway Program.
The port leases the barge from a subsidiary of Norfolk Tug and is also the barge operator.