Governor recognizes ‘world-class port’

Published 7:04 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam visited Virginia International Gateway on Monday to see the progress on the $320 million expansion project at the terminal.

Northam said that the Port of Virginia’s ongoing expansion will help drive the state’s economy to position Virginia as one of the nation’s leading business destinations, according to a press release.

“The future is bright for The Port of Virginia and to the benefit of all Virginians,” Northam said. “Between our infrastructure improvements at the port, our statewide initiatives in health care, transportation, education, technology and workforce development, we are creating a welcoming climate for companies who want to come to Virginia and have access to world markets. We have the components of a world-class business destination.”

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These remarks were shared with a group that met at VIG on Monday for a close-up look at the expansion progress. Northam was joined by Virginia Transportation Secretary Shannon Valentine, Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners Chairman John Milken and VPA Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director John Reinhart.

Reinhart said the project just passed the halfway mark and will be complete in late spring 2019.

“This project is on schedule and on budget,” he said. “The work here will be complete in less than a year and all of this is being done as we handle record-setting amounts of cargo.”

By the end of June, 13 new rail mounted gantry cranes will have been delivered, and six will be in service. There will also be 16 new container trucks delivered to move containers between the berth and container stacks, with new stack capacity regularly coming online until completion this fall.

The substructure for 800 feet of additional berth has been completed, and concrete is actively being poured for the main deck. Four new ship-to-shore cranes are set to arrive by the end of year and will be in service by February.

The first phase of construction for the new rail yard is finished, including two newly delivered and tested cranes. All of the terminal’s operations are united under a new operating system, including a new motor carrier reservation system at VIG that has four additional motor carrier lanes under construction.

“We are building a 21st century port and we will have 21st century transportation system that supports multiple users,” Valentine said. “This ongoing coordination will help the port grow and drive our commonwealth’s economy for decades to come.”

The port’s plan for wider, deeper and safer channels is also making progress. This June, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected to approve the final report needed to begin preliminary work on dredging Norfolk Harbor’s shipping channels to 55 feet and widening them in key areas.

“The big ships are here and another generation of bigger vessels carrying more cargo seeking to take advantage of the deepest port on the U.S. East Coast is right behind them,” Milliken said. “The improvements being made locally and across the state will be critical to the efficient flow of cargo and to the port’s success.”

These projects, according to Northam, will build Virginia’s reputation as an international business destination with a “world-class port.”

“That reputation will help to drive economic investment and job creation in every corner of this commonwealth,” he said. “A world-class port does far more than just move containers; it moves the economy.”