Port tracks for record 2019

Published 10:28 pm Friday, September 13, 2019

The Port of Virginia announced Friday it is on pace for another record-setting calendar year, as cargo volumes through August are up by nearly 95,000 twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo, a 5-percent increase over the same period last year.

According to a news release, the strong volumes through the first two thirds of 2019 are due to an increase of loaded import containers flowing across the port, along with a jump in empty containers that were exported to a foreign destination.

Loaded import containers are up by 53,508 twenty-foot equivalent units through August. Export loads are down by 3 percent, and export empties are down by 19 percent.

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“Our calendar-year-to-date performance remains strong despite a flat spot in August,” said Virginia Port Authority Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director John Reinhart in a statement. “We are seeing some of the negative effects of the increasing trade tariffs in the agriculture sector, grain and lumber exports in particular, and this was expected.

“We’re focusing on long-term growth, marketing our new capabilities and the expansion at Norfolk International Terminals. What’s most important is the fact that we are continuing to build upon our efficiency. The cargo is flowing through our terminals with predictability and dependability.”

Cargo volumes in August were off by 1,145 containers, or 0.4 percent, compared with August 2018, the release stated.

“Our month-to-month volumes will rebound, especially in these next couple of months leading into the retail season,” Reinhart said. “We are focused on diversifying our cargo mix, looking at new markets and working to raise awareness of the capabilities of this world-class port.”

NIT’s expansion is on schedule, with the completion of phase two expected this month. There are currently 15 new stacks served by 30 new rail mounted gantry cranes in service. Work on phase four of the stack yard expansion began Sept. 1.