The Port of Virginia set a new annual record for container cargo volume having handled more than 2.84 million TEUs, a 7 percent increase over last year’s total.
In 2017, loaded import and export volumes were up 8.6 percent and about 1 percent, respectively, over the prior year. The port saw increases in TEUs, truck volume, rail volume and total volume at Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT), the port’s barge terminal on the James River. Further, the port saw the number of new import vehicles (cars) at Newport News Marine Terminal jump 22.5 percent.
“In 2017, we moved 185,000 more TEUs than we did in 2016, which until now, was our highest volume year on record,” John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, said.
The number of ships calling Virginia dropped by 9 percent in 2017. Fewer ships, but bigger in size with increasing cargo loads is a trend that was expected and one that will continue, Reinhart said. The increasing vessel sizes are the driver of the terminal expansion projects and larger effort to dredge the Norfolk Harbor to 55 feet and widen its in- and out-bound commercial navigation channels.
“In 2018 we will continue on our forward trajectory. Our focus now is the expansion of Norfolk International Terminals (NIT), taking delivery of the first group of rail-mounted gantry cranes later this month and then bringing the first new stacks at Virginia International Gateway (VIG) online in April. We are moving forward on our wider, deeper, safer initiative that will make the Norfolk Harbor the US East Coast’s deepest and safest harbor,” Reinhart commented.
December is the half-way mark in fiscal year 2018 and thus far TEU volumes are 1,456,234 TEUs, which is an increase of 5.7 percent when compared with the same period last fiscal year.
The calendar year was completed with December’s TEU volumes of 237,525 TEUs, an increase of 3.4 percent when compared with last December.