The Port of Virginia® set a new annual record for container cargo volume having handled more than 2.65 million twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, a 4.2 percent increase over last year’s total.
In 2016, import and export volumes were up 6 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively, over the prior year. The port saw increases in TEUs, rail volume and total volume at Virginia Inland Port, the port’s growing intermodal ramp located in Front Royal. Further, Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT) had its most productive year since The Port of Virginia began leasing the facility in 2010.
“In 2016, we moved 106,000 more TEUs than we did in 2015, which until now, was our highest volume year on record,” said John F.Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “The growth is significant – 8,800 TEUs a month, on average – and we have responded with improved throughput in all facets of the operation, especially rail, where volume was 551,496 containers, an increase of 14 percent when compared with 2015. This record rail result placed The Port of Virginia as the highest rail-volume port on the East Coast, truly solidifying our position as the Mid-Atlantic’s global gateway.”
“Throughout the year we built a significant amount of momentum that is carrying us forward in 2017. Our focus now is getting underway with our capacity projects Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) and Virginia International Gateway (VIG), completing and opening the new gate at NIT in June and expanding our rail reach into our market by making use of the National Gateway, CSX’s double-stack route into the Midwest.”
The fourth quarter of 2016 was the best in the port’s history: there were double-digit increases in volume and the port increased its market share of East Coast cargo volume from 12.9 percent to 14.5 percent. The port was an influencing force in the announcement of 41 economic development announcements throughout the Commonwealth. Additionally, the National Retail Federation’s November figures show that Virginia’s import volume is growing faster than any US port.
“The work we did last year is a real tribute to our team and our port partners,” Reinhart said. “We must remain cognizant of the fact that we can always improve and continue to do those things that make us a sustainable business and grow The Port of Virginia.”
December is the half-way mark in fiscal year 2017 and thus far TEU volumes are 1,377,625 TEUs, which is an increase of 6 percent when compared with the same period last fiscal year; gate volumes were 80,569 moves, up 15.6 percent; and imports and exports are up 11 percent and nearly 3 percent, respectively.
The calendar year was completed with December’s TEU volumes of 229,624 TEUs, making it the eleventh consecutive month of TEU volumes exceeding 210,000 units. Also in December, rail volume was up 15 percent; total barge volume up 32 percent; RMT volume up 55 percent; and motor-carrier volume up nearly 16 percent.
Some of the ports accomplishments in 2016 include:
- January: Port efforts to keep the Elizabeth River clean recognized with 14th consecutive RiverStar award from the Elizabeth River Project.
- February: Port and Richmond city leaders sign a 40-year lease agreement for RMT and debut its new, $4.2 million harbor crane.
- March: Port leaders begin a three-stop trip in Hampton Roads, Richmond and Front Royal to deliver the State-of-the-Port address.
- April: The SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) requirements implemented on deadline and without any disruption to the delivery of service.
- June: The MOL Benefactor becomes the first ship to call Virginia through the widened Panama Canal and the port posts a positive operating income for the second consecutive year.
- July: The governor announces a state investment of $350 million to expand cargo capacity at NIT’s South Berth by 46 percent.
- August: Virginia hosts the APL Yangshan, which is the largest container ship to ever call Virginia. The vessel can transport up to 10,700 TEUs.
- September: The port signs a new, long-term lease for VIG clearing the way to begin work on doubling the terminal capacity.
- October: The port receives the US Coast Guard’s Rear Admiral Richard E. Bennis Award for Excellence in Maritime Security. The award recognizes organizations that establish and foster a comprehensive culture of security throughout their workforce.
- November: The port finalizes a $217 million contract with Konecranes for that company to build and deliver 86 specialized cranes that will be at the center of the port’s expansion projects at VIG and NIT. The contract is the largest one-time order for automated stacking cranes in industry history.
- December: The application to expand Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ 20) into northeast North Carolina was approved by the US Department of Commerce. The expansion provides another means of attracting cargo to The Port of Virginia, which is the grantee of FTZ 20.
Source: Port of Virginia