Volumes Dip at Port of Virginia as Port Manages Movement of Empty Containers
The Port of Virginia is managing the flow of empty containers as part of a larger move to drive cargo throughput during expansion at its two primary container terminals, Virginia International Gateway (VIG) and Norfolk International Terminals (NIT). May’s dip in cargo volumes reflect the tactical decision.
The port processed 236,893 TEUs, which is a decline of four percent, or 9,979 fewer units when compared with last May. Cargo volumes at Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT) and Virginia Inland Port (VIP) and were up 46 percent and two percent, respectively; barge volume was up three percent and rail was up two percent.
“Our May volumes dipped when compared with last year, but the drop was somewhat by design as we are asking our customers to limit the movement of empty containers to ensure that our effort during expansion is focused on loaded export and import boxes,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA). “Another factor is that last April, when the alliances went into service, there was an influx of volume moving across Virginia on the big ships that were taking advantage of our deep water and making first-in and last-out calls here. Now, as expected, the alliances have spread-out that volume across the East Coast.
“We continue to focus on consistency at the gates at VIG and while our effort is producing results, there is still work to do,” he added. “The progress we are making on our expansion at both VIG and NIT is tangible. We are on schedule and on budget and moving forward every day.”
The port’s fiscal-year (July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018) volumes continue to track ahead of last year: total TEUs are up three percent; VIP volume is up 3.6 percent; RMT, up nearly 20 percent; total barge traffic up 5.2 percent; truck volume up 5 percent; vehicle units up nearly 3 percent; breakbulk tonnage up 5.1 percent; and rail volume is off .5 percent. The port continues to introduce new capacity at VIG with three new container stacks coming online in mid-May.
“All 26 of the new rail-mounted gantry cranes for VIG have been delivered and we are preparing them for service,” Reinhart said. “As soon as the rails are ready, we can put these units in place and begin the powering up and testing process to bring new stack capacity online.”
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