Port starts fiscal year strong

Published 8:20 pm Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Virginia Port Authority has announced a strong start to the fiscal year, with July setting a new record for cargo throughput.

The port’s TEU (20-foot equivalent container) volume of 207,771 units last month beat the monthly record set last October by 1,174 TEUs, according to an authority news release.

Revenues were $37.9 million and operating income was $1.98 million, increases of 21.5 percent and 6 percent, respectively, compared with last year.

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“This is a solid start to our new fiscal year and a return to profitability after a loss in June,” John F. Reinhart, authority CEO and executive director, stated.

“Our performance and direction are improving, but much work remains to be done.”

An operating profit has been generated in four of the past five months, according to the authority.

Factoring in July’s strong results, it says, were the port assuming management of the empty container yards and “recognizing revenue and cost” from the operation of the port’s chassis pool, along with “efficiencies being realized from multiple initiatives implemented since February at the terminals to improve delivery of service and cargo flow while controlling costs.”

Reinhart called fiscal 2014 a “pivotal year” for the port. “We are confident in our ability to continue to implement constructive changes as we move forward together, to better serve our customers and stakeholders,” he said.

“Our focus continues to be those initiatives that will reduce cost, increase velocity, improve service and maintain profitability.”

TEU totals were at record levels in the first seven months of 2014. They increased 6.8 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the authority.

In July, truck volume increased by 2.3 percent and barge volume increased by 12.6 percent.

Rail traffic was flat, the authority reports, declining by less than 1 percent.

During July, 64 percent of containers were moved by truck, 32 percent by rail and 4 percent by barge.

Virginia Inland Port handled 3,345 total containers in July, “a 51-percent increase when compared with July 2013 and the best July in the facility’s 25-year history.”

July was the best month for vessel calls in more than five years with 176 vessels, according to the authority.