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Big year for port

Published 1:19pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Last year was the biggest year ever for container and rail cargo in Virginia, the Virginia Port Authority has reported.

An increased volume of imports and exports meant the port eclipsed 2007 — the previous best year — by 95,166 TEUs (20-foot equivalent containers), with a total of over 2.22 million TEUs, according to a news release.

Rodney Oliver, the authority’s interim executive director, stated that all facets of port operations last year were “incredibly productive.”

“The year’s production is a testament to hard work and getting back to focusing upon the core mission of moving cargo,” Oliver stated.

“Our growth in 2013 was 5.6 percent, and that is in addition to the 9.8-percent growth we achieved in 2012. These totals demonstrate that there is a lot of confidence in The Port of Virginia.”

With almost 431,000, the port’s rail operation moved 11.7-percent more containers than in 2012, and Oliver noted it has seen double-digit growth in 11 of the past 14 months.

“We finished 2013 with rail cargo representing 34 percent of the port’s total container traffic,” Oliver stated, “which on a calendar-year basis, is the highest percentage in the port’s history.”

Meanwhile for 2013, containers were up 5.4 percent to 1.27 million, and general cargo tonnage rose 7.5 percent to 18.84 million, both compared to 2012 figures.

The authority says a busy December, with 99,722 exports and 81,369 imports (TEUs), capped-off the strong year.

That month’s general cargo tonnage, which includes container and non-containerized, was almost 1.59 million tons, while 34,358 rail containers were handled and 4,030 containers were moved by barge.

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