Norfolk International Terminals’ New North Gate Complex Christened
The Port of Virginia christened its state-of-the-art North Gate yesterday, a 26-lane, technology-driven gate complex that will speed the flow of truck-borne cargo to and from Norfolk International Terminals (NIT).
Port partners, stakeholders, industry leaders and officials from the federal, state and local levels all gathered at NIT to celebrate the ceremonial “first move” by a motor carrier through the new gate complex. The North Gate will open to all motor carriers on June 30 and more than doubles the total gate capacity at NIT.
Two years ago, NIT’s North Gate was a small, four-lane complex that was staffed by full-time security personnel and served container traffic, vendors’ vehicles and personal cars. As container volumes at NIT grew, more and more pressure was being put on NIT’s 16-lane South Gate.
An expanded North Gate is key to improving delivery of service to the motor carriers and to the cargo owners, said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. Further, greater gate capacity at NIT will be critical to the success of a larger expansion project there.
“We are investing $350 million here to expand our container handling capacity by 400,000 containers,” Reinhart said. “In order to handle more cargo at the berth and stack yard, our means of moving cargo to and from our terminals – rail, barge and truck – must expand and modernize in parallel.”
The $42 million North Gate project was paid for, in part, with money the port received in September 2015 from the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery – TIGER – grant program. The port received $15 million in federal grant money and invested $27 million of its own money in the project.
“We are within days of completing our best fiscal-year performance on record – 2.7 million TEUs – and the need for an expanded North Gate that provides safe, direct access to the interstate is greater than ever,” Reinhart said. “As we expand our markets, add capacity and continue to improve efficiency across all of our operations, more and more cargo is going to come to Virginia.”
By the end of 2017, the North Gate will have direct interstate connection via the I-564 Intermodal Connector. This road project will provide motor carriers serving NIT with safe, quick and direct access to I-564. Moreover, this road realignment will alleviate congestion and improve the level of service on the streets of the city and Naval Station Norfolk. Construction on the $169 million, four-lane road project is underway and officials from the Virginia Department of Transportation said the North Gate’s dedicated access road will be ready by year’s end.
“The Port of Virginia is growing and projects like this will help us keep pace and provide the necessary access to deliver the goods coming through this port to manufacturers and consumers throughout our market,” Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne said. “Equally important is the fact that the North Gate and I-564 Connector projects will combine to take pressure off of one of Norfolk’s busiest streets. Trucks leaving the North Gate will head straight to the Interstate and therefore reduce traffic on Hampton Boulevard.”
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