Business, Freight News, Sea

Port of Virginia Sets New Annual Volume Record in 2018 Having Handled 2.85 Million TEUs

[ January 16, 2019   //   ]

The Port of Virginia® set a new annual record for container cargo volume having handled more than 2.85 million TEUs in calendar year 2018, a slight percent increase over last year’s total.

In 2018, the port’s TEU volumes were up .5% over the prior year. The port saw increases in volume at both Virginia Inland Port and Richmond Marine Terminal — the port’s two inland facilities – and truck and barge volume. Further, the port saw slight growth of 1.2% in breakbulk cargo handled at Newport News Marine Terminal.

“Our growth in 2018 was less than what we had planned for, but as construction proceeded at Virginia International Gateway (VIG) and Norfolk International Terminals (NIT), we made the decisions to temporarily hold some cargo and limit the movement of empty containers,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “We knew those moves would have a bearing on our year-end totals. Though we still set a new mark, it was a rather static performance. In a larger sense, we made the right moves because we were able to get through a very challenging period while maintaining our service levels.

“We cannot always measure success in terms of cargo volume. It was a landmark year for The Port of Virginia and we look at 2018 as a year of accomplishments. Each month we saw new equipment being delivered, new capacity coming on line, the incorporation of technology and projects like Wider, Deeper, Safer getting the necessary federal approval to move forward. Equally as important is that we were safe in the execution of our jobs.”

The number of ships calling Virginia dropped by 5% in 2018 and while there are fewer vessels calling Virginia, they are larger and carry more cargo. The increasing vessel sizes and container volumes, Reinhart said, are factors in the port’s capacity expansion and Wider, Deeper, Safer effort, which is a project that will deepen the Norfolk Harbor to 55 feet and widen portions of the commercial navigation channels.

December is the half-way mark in fiscal year 2019 and thus far TEU volumes are 1,484,403 TEUs, which is an increase of 2% when compared with the same period last fiscal year; gate volumes are up 3%; loaded imports, up 3.5%; and loaded exports, down 5%. The calendar year was completed with December’s TEU volumes of 241,121 TEUs, an increase of 1.5% when compared with last December. Richmond Marine Terminal volume was up 6.4%; motor-carrier volume, up 9%; and import loads, up 5.4%.

“In 2019 we will continue on our forward trajectory,” Reinhart said. “Our focus now is the expansion of NIT, bringing the new ship-to-shore cranes on line at VIG and wrapping-up construction there in June.”