Port of Virginia readies to close by Wednesday in advance of Florence

Gantry cranes at the Port of Virginia ( Photo: Port of Virginia )

Third-largest port on East Coast plans to shut down ahead of hurricane’s expected landfall.

The Port of Virginia says all its ship traffic will halt as of Wednesday due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence.

The Category 4 storm which is currently packing 140-mile per hour winds is expected to hit either North Carolina or South Carolina by Thursday according to the last update from the National Hurricane Center.

The Port of Virginia, which is near the state’s southern border with North Carolina, says the U.S. Coast Guard plans to close the main shipping channel by 6 AM EDT on Wednesday, September 12.

The U.S. Coast Guard expects sustained gale force winds to hit the Virginia Capes region by noon that day.

The Port of Virginia says all onshore activities will halt as of Tuesday midnight, with all seven maritime ports located in the area shutdown as of Wednesday.

The Port of Virginia encompasses a variety of different maritime facilities, the largest being Norfolk International Terminals (NIT). NIT handles containerships up to 14,000 twenty foot equivalent unit (teu) size and has capacity for 820,000 ocean shipping containers.

The nearby Virginia International Gateway, which will also be closed can also handle up 650,000 ocean containers.

Other terminals that will be affected include Newport News, which is a major site for vehicular and oversized cargo; and the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, which also has intermodal connections with CSX and Norfolk Southern.Complete Hurricane Florence Coverage

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Michael Angell, Bulk and Intermodal Editor

Michael Angell covers maritime, intermodal and related topics for FreightWaves. His interest in transportation stretches back several generations. One great-grandfather was a dray horseman along the New York waterfront and another was a railway engineer in Texas. More recently, Michael has written about the shipping industry for TradeWinds, energy markets for Oil Price Information Service, and general business topics for FactSet Mergerstat and Investor's Business Daily. When he is not stuck in the office, he enjoys tours of ports, terminals, and railyards.