Port of Virginia Sets New Annual Volume Record in 2019 Having Handled 2.9 Million TEUs

Jan 13, 2020 | Corporate Member News

NORFOLK, VA – The Port of Virginia® set a new annual record for container cargo volume having handled more than 2.93 million twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, in calendar year 2019, a 3 percent increase over last year’s total.

The port saw increases in the movement of loaded imports, up 3 percent; empty export TEUs, up 10 percent; growth in barge volume, up more than 18 percent; and the amount of cargo moving over Richmond Marine Terminal, up 19.5 percent. Truck volumes were up 2 percent and rail volume was static.

“We look at how we served our customers and what we accomplished, so 2019 was landmark year for The Port of Virginia,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “We had a very successful year, having set a new record for volume, though our growth was not as much as we had planned. Trade thrives in a predictable environment and the tariffs created some uncertainty across the industry that had an effect on our year-end totals, but we don’t measure success only in terms of cargo volume.

“Throughout the year we made significant gains on our projects. We debuted an expanded Virginia International Gateway (VIG) in June, got underway with our dredging effort that will make Virginia the deepest port on the U.S. East Coast in four years and are on track and on budget to bring the expansion of Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) to a close in late 2020.”

Reinhart also pointed to the port’s expanding role in driving economic investment and job creation throughout the Commonwealth. In 2019, the port was instrumental in helping to generate more than 3,500 new jobs and the development of nearly 5 million square feet of space that had a total investment value of $2 billion.

“We are listening to our customers, cargo owners and partners and always looking for new, innovative ways of moving their cargo with greater velocity and doing so safely,” Reinhart said. “When we do this well, we build confidence with the ocean carriers and cargo owners, volumes expand and businesses grow. That growth equates to economic investment and new jobs for Virginia.”

December is the half-way mark in fiscal year 2020 and thus far the TEU volumes is 1,483,509 units; gate volumes are up 2.3 percent; loaded imports, up 3 percent; and barge volume up 18.6 percent.

The calendar year was completed with December TEU volumes of 224,902 units, a decrease of 6.7 percent when compared with last December. Also in December, Richmond Marine Terminal volume was up 29 percent; loaded exports, up nearly 4 percent; and total barge volume up almost 19 percent.

“The accomplishments of 2019 are a tribute to our team and our port partners,” Reinhart said. “The cargo we handle is important and we know we can always improve in our delivery of service to all of the port’s users and customers. We will continue to do those things that will make 2020 another landmark year at The Port of Virginia.”

Some of the ports accomplishments in 2019 include:


  • Four new ship-to-shore cranes are arrive in the Norfolk Harbor and make their way to VIG. The cranes are the largest in the Americas and are able to service container vessels, regardless of their size, for decades to come. The cranes are among the final pieces of hardware for the $320 million VIG expansion project.


  • Following the successful completion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Southeast In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot program, importers of perishables from South American countries can now move their cargo across The Port of Virginia The approval coincides with the port’s effort to expand its capacity to handle refrigerated (reefer) cargo.


  • The port marks the one-year anniversary of the successful launch of PRO-PASS®, its motor carrier reservation system, at NIT. The system allows the port to manage truck flow at the gates; it creates efficiency for terminal operations teams and for drivers; it provides greater visibility to cargo owners; and it is a planning tool for those moving cargo by truck.
  • Twelve new container stacks at Norfolk International Terminals NIT began operating as the project to reconfigure and expand the terminal’s south container stack-yard moves forward according to schedule.


  • ARREFF Terminals, a subsidiary of Fornazor International Inc., and the port enter into a long term agreement that allows ARREFF to develop a transload facility at NIT for agricultural commodities. The facility will be served by rail and when finished will more than triple the number of containers the company moves through the port.


  • Phase II of the rail yard at VIG is complete and signals the end of more than two-and-a-half years of heavy construction at the terminal.
  • John F. Reinhart is inducted into the International Maritime Hall of Fame. The International Maritime Hall of Fame recognizes maritime visionaries, who through excellence in their company, organization, or services, best exemplify the qualities of futuristic thinking that will guide the maritime industry in the 21st Century.


  • Virginia becomes the first U.S. port to join SEA\LNG, a multi-sector industry coalition, created to accelerate the widespread adoption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel. The coalition unites key players from across the LNG marine value chain to address the barriers to the adoption of LNG.


  • Driven by an increase in imports, the port completes fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) having handled a record 2.9 million TEUs, which is a volume increase of 4 percent when compared with last fiscal year.


  • The port is among a group of port and maritime industry partners that worked together to send critical supplies to the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian. The port collaborated with partners from across the industry to fill shipping containers with more than 200 gas generators, tarps, gas cans, canopy tents, power cords, extension cords, batteries, water, toiletries, baby wipes, diapers, cleaning supplies and other related items.


  • The Port of Virginia receives the Port Management and Infrastructure award at the Lloyd’s List 2019 Americas Awards, an annual competition held by one of the maritime industry’s sources of maritime data and information. The port took home the award for its Virginia International Gateway (VIG) infrastructure project: a three-year, $320 million investment that reimagined and re-engineered one of the nation’s most state-of-the-art terminals.


  • The port signs the contract to begin the first phase of dredging on the 55-foot project, which will be dredging the western side of the Thimble Shoal Channel to 56 feet. The $350 million project includes dredging the shipping channels to 55 feet – with deeper ocean approaches – and widening the channel to more than 1,400 feet in specific areas. When complete in 2024, the commercial channels serving the Norfolk Harbor will be able to simultaneously accommodate two, ultra-large container vessels.


  • The work to make The Port of Virginia the deepest port on the U.S. East Coast begins. The project holds long-term benefits for Virginia, for the port, for cargo owners, customers and the ocean carriers. “Safe, two-way movement of ultra-large container vessels, unrestricted by tide, is a significant competitive advantage for Virginia,” Reinhart says. “This project and all of the other improvements we are making at the terminals tells the ocean carriers ‘we are ready for your big ships.’ ”


  • A study conducted by The College of William & Mary that focuses on the overall value of the port to the Virginia economy during fiscal year 2018 (FY18) shows the port to be an expanding and significant economic force in the Commonwealth’s economy. The study says there are more than 397,000 jobs and $92 billion in total spending tied to port activity.


The Virginia Port Authority (VPA) is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The VPA owns and through its private operating subsidiary, Virginia International Terminals, LLC (VIT), operates four general cargo facilities: Norfolk International Terminals, Portsmouth Marine Terminal, Newport News Marine Terminal and the Virginia Inland Port in Warren County. The VPA leases Virginia International Gateway and Richmond Marine Terminal. In fiscal year 2018, The Port of Virginia provided more than 397,000 jobs and generated $92 billion in total economic impact throughout the Commonwealth.

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