Port’s great start to fiscal year

Published 9:45 pm Monday, August 13, 2018

The Port of Virginia had a strong start to the 2019 fiscal year with record-setting cargo volumes, according to a press release last week.

The port processed 252,679 twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo in July, a nearly 8-percent increase compared with the same month last year. It was the second most productive month in the history of the port, behind the most productive month that was set in October with 265,490 units handled, according to the press release.

“Peak season is clearly upon us and we have rebounded from prior months when our volumes were somewhat soft,” John Reinhart, chief executive officer and Virginia Port Authority executive director, stated in the press release. “We showed growth across every phase of the operation and exceeded our July container forecast by nearly 2 percent.

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“We are expecting steady volumes as we get into the heart of our busy season, so we are staying focused on consistent delivery of service while managing the construction at Virginia International Gateway and Norfolk International Terminals.”

According to the press release, this growth in July was driven by balanced trade. Loaded exports and imports improved by 9.4 and 10 percent, respectively, as well as the port’s inland operations improved by 24 percent at Virginia Inland Terminal and 83 percent at Richmond Marine Terminal.

Truck volume rose 5 percent, barge traffic by 27 percent and rail by more than 8 percent.

“July’s heavy volumes showed us what we are capable of during construction,” Reinhart stated. “We are working to build familiarity and muscle memory with our new capacity. As we incorporate more new capacity into the operation, our ability to process this kind of volume will continue to improve.”

More than 18 months have passed since the project at VIG began and the progress so far has been clear, according to Reinhart. The first bundle of expanded rail tracks is now in service, the delivery of all 26 new rail-mounted gantry cranes is finished and six of 13 new container stacks are operational.

The port coordinated all of its terminals under the new PRO-PASS system in July. This new system allows for all of the critical cargo tracking and tracing tools used by port customers and stakeholders to be consolidated in a single online location, according to the press release.

Additionally, the port continues to expand the hours of the Truck Reservation System at VIG and NIT gates for greater efficiency.

“We are making significant progress on multiple fronts,” Reinhart stated. “We are bringing the first new stacks on line at NIT in late September and by this time next year our work at VIG will be done. Then our focus will be on a successful finish to the NIT expansion.”