March volumes at the Port of Virginia were the highest so far this year, the Virginia Port Authority said Thursday.
The Port of Virginia in Norfolk handled 314,698 twenty-foot equivalent units in March, 12.6% higher year-over-year. March’s volumes were also higher than January’s volume of about 262,000 TEUs and February’s 297,000.
Loaded imports accounted for nearly 47% of overall volumes, totaling 148,932 TEUs.
Meanwhile, exports of empty containers rose 30.7% to 66,771 TEUs, and loaded exports increased 1% to 95,803 TEUs.
The increase in loaded imports comes as the port has expanded operating hours and adjusted operations to ensure efficiency, access to cargo and service delivery, according to Stephen A. Edwards, Virginia Port Authority CEO and executive director.
March also saw the addition of two new ship-to-shore cranes to Norfolk International Terminals (NIT). They will go into service in late May and aid the port in handling ultralarge container vessels.
“In terms of overall volume, this March ranks as the fourth most productive month in our history. We are processing heavy volumes and doing so with fluidity, which continues to draw interest from ocean carriers and cargo owners. This means we are keeping our focus on those operational issues that drive efficiency and meeting the needs of all port users,” Edwards said.
The Port of Virginia also provided updates to other projects: The expansion of NIT’s Central Rail Yard and its North Berth is in its early stages and will be completed in late 2023; efforts to dredge the Norfolk Harbor and commercial channels to at least 55 feet deep received the final portion of federal funding and will be completed in late 2024; and preliminary design work on the North Berth at NIT is underway and will be completed in late 2025.
These projects have a combined cost of more than $1 billion.