Port shows September growth

Published 9:35 pm Monday, October 14, 2019

The Port of Virginia processed more than 241,416 twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo in September, an increase of more than 9 percent compared to September 2018.

According to the Wednesday press release, this uptick also puts the port’s cargo volume growth for the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 at more than 4 percent.

September’s volumes, according to the press release, were driven by the repositioning of empty containers. Export empties increased nearly 7,800 units — more than 17 percent — and import empties were up 630 units, an increase of more than 34 percent.

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Export loads increased by 9 percent, or nearly 6,000 units, and loaded imports were up by 5 percent, or 5,600 units.

“As a result of peak season volumes and the ongoing trade tariffs, we are seeing a lot of imports and repositioning of empty containers,” John Reinhart, the chief executive officer and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, stated in the press release. “In September, China granted an exemption from additional tariffs on some American soybean imports, pork and other agricultural products and this works in our favor as we have seen some rebound in those cargoes.

“We had a strong month for auto imports at Newport News Marine Terminal, cargo volume at Richmond Marine Terminal was up more than 45 percent and our overall truck volume increased by 8,700 moves. We are processing cargo more quickly, safely and dependably than ever before. We know there is room for improvement and will continue to fine-tune our processes to drive efficiency.”

According to the press release, the expansion at Norfolk International Terminals is on schedule. There are 18 new stacks served by 36 new rail-mounted gantry cranes that are already in service.

Work on the next phase of stack-yard construction is under way, with the next group of rail-mounted gantry cranes scheduled for delivery in January.

The port is also making progress on its channel deepening and widening project. When this project is complete in 2024, Virginia will be home to the deepest port on the U.S. East Coast, according to the press release.

The Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved a $78 million contract in late September to begin the first phase of dredging the commercial ship channel to 55 feet.