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Port of Virginia boasts record volumes in 2022

South Carolina, New York/New Jersey also post all-time high numbers

The Port of Virginia experienced record volumes for fiscal year 2022, boosted by consumer activity and shippers’ desire to avoid congestion at West Coast ports. 

At the Norfolk port, 2022 volumes came in at a record 3.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units, up 14.7% from fiscal year 2021. The port’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.

June’s volumes of 317,742 TEUs also eclipsed a monthly record at nearly 13% higher than June 2021. June marked the fourth consecutive month for the port to see volumes of 314,000 TEUs or more. 

“Our growth is being driven by the confidence our customers and the cargo owners have in our ability to process their ships and cargo swiftly, safely and efficiently,” said Port of Virginia CEO and Executive Director Stephen A. Edwards in a news release. “There were some challenges, but we adapted and delivered real value to all of our port users, and the result is an increasing demand for the services of the Port of Virginia.”

The port reported record cargo volume in 2022 was driven by an increase in loaded imports, as well as growth in empty export boxes. 

Loaded import TEUs rose 16.3% on a year-over-year basis to nearly 1.77 million TEUs, while empty export boxes grew by 20.5% to 73,962 TEUs.

The number of containers handled jumped 15.5% to 2.05 million y/y. Rail containers increased 12.4% to 653,739; barge containers grew 25.7% to 86,126; and truck containers increased 16.5% to nearly 1.13 million. 

Although vehicle units for 2022 sank 41.8% to 9,428, the Port of Virginia processed 1,222 in June, up 18% y/y.

“We processed a lot of cargo while making significant progress in other areas,” Edwards said. “We’re moving forward on our $1.4 billion capital investment package that includes expanding rail capacity, widening and deepening our channels to at least 55 feet deep and modernizing the north berth at Norfolk International Terminals. In addition, we’re opening up new markets for cargo owners and shippers through reworked vessel services that are offering direct Asia-to-Virginia connections. And we are building the reputation as the East Coast alternative to ports that are having to address congestion issues.”

The Port of Virginia is just one of several East Coast ports boasting higher volumes over the past year.

The South Carolina Ports Authority said Tuesday that 2022 represented a record fiscal year, with volumes at Wando Welch Terminal, North Charleston Terminal and Leatherman Terminal totaling 2.85 million TEUs, up 12% y/y. On Wednesday, the Port of New York and New Jersey said May was the second busiest cargo month in its history, with volume rising 6.1% to 845,305 TEUs.

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.