Reflecting the tremendous pace of container freight activity to and from North America, the Port of Virginia set a new monthly record for cargo volume in November – beating the record it had just set in October.
In November, the port handled about 280,000 TEU, up 23 percent year-over-year compared with the same period in 2019. It was the sixth consecutive month of month-over-month growth, as well, and the port said that the rate of acceleration is roughly even between imports and exports. Export loads rose 15 percent year-over-year to 89,000 TEU, and imports rose by 21 percent, hitting 124,000 TEU. Every category of inland transportation saw healthy increases as well, including container-on-barge operations.
“We have handled more than 554,000 TEUs in the last two months and equally impressive is the efficiency with which we are processing the cargo,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “Our motor carriers are moving on-and-off the terminals in less than 45 minutes, rail dwell for exports is in the 40-hour range, and we have good flow on the barge service moving between here and Richmond Marine Terminal. The team and our labor partners have these terminals performing at world-class levels and it is important to recognize their effort.”
With the wheels turning smoothly, the port is forecasting strong December throughput, if not at the levels seen in November. The first few months of the year are traditionally slow, and stronger activity levels will likely return in the second quarter – though the forecast is contingent upon the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic recovery.
“From an operational standpoint we are very busy, but we are also making significant progress on our other projects that will deliver additional benefits to our customers, cargo owners, and all Port of Virginia users,” Reinhart said. “The effort to make Virginia home to the deepest, widest, safest shipping channels and harbor on the U.S. East Coast is ahead of schedule. We are on track to have our two new ship-to-shore cranes at NIT (Norfolk International Terminals) operational in January. The design phase for NIT’s new rail yard is underway and that project focuses on doubling the terminal’s rail capacity and increasing efficiency.”
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