Port expansion passes critical phase

Published 10:03 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The first new container stack began operating at Virginia International Gateway this week, signaling the end of a critical construction phase at the terminal.

The end of the stack-yard work means that just two more projects need to be completed before the entire $320 million expansion is finished in June, according to the press release.

“This new capacity is quickly being integrated into the operation and the Port of Virginia is beginning to see positive results,” John F. Reinhart, chief executive officer and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, stated in the press release. “Our turn-times for motor carriers are improving, there is better flow at our gates and our service levels are trending in the right direction.

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“We are on-budget, on-time and with the end clearly in sight, we are already seeing the benefits.”

The terminal now has 13 additional container stacks, each served by two new rail-mounted gantry cranes.

These new stacks complement the 15 existing stacks, which are on schedule to be refurbished throughout the year. Two have been refurbished so far and three are under way, according to the press release.

The expansion has doubled Virginia International Gateway’s annual container throughput capacity, and it can now process 1.2 million container lifts annually.

The expanded stack-yard is being combined with four new ship-to-shore cranes, 800 additional feet of berth space, four new lanes at the truck gate, a new terminal operating system and a new, reconfigured on-dock rail yard with nearly 20,000 feet of track served by four new cantilever cranes.

The ship-to-shore cranes are the largest in the Western Hemisphere and will be ready for service in March, while the rail yard is scheduled for completion in late May.

“The ongoing investment in The Port of Virginia puts it in the best position to become the U.S. East Coast’s premier port: a true gateway to world trade and a catalyst for commerce in Virginia,” Reinhart stated.

The Virginia International Gateway expansion is one of two large-scale capacity expansion projects that will increase the port’s overall annual container capacity by 40 percent by 2020, or 1 million container units.

The port also began an expansion of the south stack container yard at Norfolk International Terminals in early 2018, a $375 million project that will allow the port to create greater density for cargo and expand annual capacity there by 400,000 containers.

The container stack yard at South NIT will be reconfigured and equipped with 60 new rail-mounted gantry cranes by 2020, and the first phase of 12 new container stacks will be ready for delivery in mid-February. Work began on phase two’s six stacks in December and work on the 12 stacks for phase three will begin in May.