Business, Freight News, Sea

Hurricane Florence affects Port of Virginia’s September totals

[ October 21, 2018   //   ]

The Port of Virginia’s® TEU volume for the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 is running nearly 3%, or 20,000 TEUs, ahead of same period last year. The increase comes despite a 7% dip in September cargo volumes that was driven by Hurricane Florence, which disrupted shipping throughout the Southeastern U.S. As the storm approached the U.S. East Coast in mid-September, the port closed for three-and-a-half days to vessel traffic.

“We lost 10% of our workdays in September as a result of the storm and that is a significant amount of time for our vessel traffic to be idled,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “The closure was necessary to ensure the safety of our colleagues, facilities, cargo and customers. We were fortunate, especially when compared with our neighbors in North Carolina. During these events our posture will always be to err on the side of caution.”

On a fiscal year basis, loaded exports and imports are up 2% and 4%, respectively. Volume at Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal is 16% ahead of last fiscal year’s first quarter and cargo moving on the Richmond Express barge service is up nearly 58%. Both rail and truck volume were up, comparatively, as well.

“The investment we are making at VIG (Virginia International Gateway) is truly starting to show its value; the new capacity that is in service is beginning to make a difference,” Reinhart said. “We are now moving some volume out of Portsmouth Marine Terminal back to VIG and gaining efficiency. We also brought four new gates into service at VIG in September and along with our Truck Reservation System, they are helping to drive throughput of cargo and build velocity.”

At Norfolk International Terminals the expansion is continuing and the first three new stacks were delivered in late September to the operations team for testing. Those stacks are scheduled to go into service in October and the next three coming online in November.