Service Excellence Drives Cargo Growth; More Than 270K TEUs is Jan. Record
Port Processing an Average 268,000 TEUs a Month, September — January
The Port of Virginia® in January set a new record for monthly TEU volume (twenty-foot equivalent unit) having handled nearly 271,000 units and in doing so set a new record for January cargo volume.
January’s TEU volume was nearly 44,000 units – 19.2 percent – ahead of Jan. 2020 and was driven by heavy loaded import and export volume as well as a significant number of empty exports. The volume, said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director emeritus of the Virginia Port Authority, is reflective of the worldwide need for empty containers, a domestic manufacturing sector that is ramping-up to meet demand, a retail sector that is regaining its strength and growing confidence in the national economy.
To see the port in action during January click here.
“It’s still a very dynamic trade environment and we are well-positioned to address the challenges as they arise because of the investments we have made in capacity and modernization,” Reinhart said. “We’re processing significant volumes and expect the trend to continue. During the last several months, the port team, our labor partners, and the investments we have made in the terminals are delivering real results for the customers and cargo owners.”
In the five-month period from Sept. 2020 to Jan. 2021, the port has processed, on average, more than 268,000 TEUs a month, compared with 237,500 units for the same five-month period last fiscal year. And while volume has increased, operational efficiency continues to improve: 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 there is good flow on the barge service moving between Richmond Marine Terminal and the Norfolk Harbor.
Reinhart’s successor, Stephen A. Edwards, began his tenure as the VPA’s next leader in January. He says volumes through the winter should remain steady and an important factor will be a modified Chinese New Year celebration.
“This year, many of the Chinese factories will be operating during the New Year celebration and this move will help mitigate some of the traditional slowdown in trade that industry normally experiences in late February,” Edwards said. “Volumes will also be dependent upon the health of the global economy, the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, and the ability of people to return to work. There are very good foundations in place here to handle the changes as they come.”
As the port processes record volumes, it continues to make progress on multiple projects designed to increase efficiency, speed the flow of cargo and provide benefits to the port’s customers and cargo owners.
“Our two new ship-to-shore cranes at NIT (Norfolk International Terminals) are fully operational, the design phase for NIT’s new rail yard is nearing its end and the work to make Virginia home to the deepest port on the US East Coast is ahead of schedule,” Reinhart said. “Our service levels are excellent and when you combine the projects we are working on with our focus on service, the beneficiaries are the customers and cargo owners.”
The project to dredge the Norfolk Harbor, the commercial channels, and ocean approaches to 55-plus feet deep is scheduled for completion in late 2024. When the work is complete, Virginia will be home to the deepest harbor on the US East Coast.
January Cargo Snapshot (2021 vs. 2020)
- Total TEUs – 270,969, up 19.2%
- Loaded Export TEUs – 84,699, up 6.8%
- Loaded Import TEUs – 130,777, up 20.1%
- Total Containers – 148,450 up 17.2%
- Virginia Inland Port Containers – 2,782, up 25.2%
- Total Rail Containers – 46,750, up 17.3%
- Total Truck Containers – 95,051, up 16.1%
- Total Barge Containers – 6,649, up 35.9%
- Richmond Marine Terminal Containers – 5,020, up 37.4%