July marks the Port’s second-best month

Published 10:01 pm Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Port of Virginia processed 265,559 twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo in July, making it the second busiest month in the port’s history, according to a Monday press release.

The strong cargo performance was driven by a more than 4-percent increase in loaded import containers, and an increase of nearly 18 percent in empty export containers, which according to the press release are being repositioned worldwide to handle peak cargo season.

“We are continuing to set volume records,” John Reinhart, chief executive officer and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, stated in the press release. “The cargo is flowing across The Port of Virginia with efficiency and dependability as a result of expanded container handling capacity at (Virginia International Gateway) and (Norfolk International Terminals).

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“Many of the empty export containers will come back to Virginia as import loads full of consumer goods for the coming retail season,” he continued. “Our volumes, on a month-to-month basis, continue to grow and we anticipate this trend to continue well into fall. Ocean carriers are taking advantage of our world-class facilities, and cargo owners are seeing their goods move across the terminals faster than ever before.

“Almost every phase of the operation is showing strength and we are tracking at nearly 6 percent growth for the calendar year.”

In late July, the port debuted the terminal’s expanded capabilities to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Virginia Transportation Secretary Shannon Valentine, Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners Chairman John Milliken, U.S. Maritime Administrator Mark Buzby and industry leaders.

According to Reinhart, having VIG fully operational is helping to keep the NIT expansion on-track.

“The gate, rail operation, stack yard, berth and new cranes are processing cargo and we are well-prepared for peak season,” he stated in the press release. “We’re seeing cargo move with efficiency, productivity and predictability and we’ll continue to improve in those areas as we develop our muscle memory with this added capacity.”

The expansion at NIT is progressing according to schedule, and 12 new stacks — which are served by 24 new rail-mounted gantry cranes — are already in service.

Phase two of the stack yard expansion — six stacks — is nearing completion. Three new container stacks came online on Aug. 7, and three more stacks are scheduled to come online by mid-September, according to the press release.