• ITVI.USA
    15,496.720
    85.590
    0.6%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.743
    0.003
    0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
    0.000
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,466.390
    90.520
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
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    3.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,496.720
    85.590
    0.6%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.743
    0.003
    0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
    0.000
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,466.390
    90.520
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
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    3.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
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American Shipper

Port of Virginia chips away at congestion

Officials say the worst back ups have been alleviated, but challenges remain as countermeasures continue to be implemented.

   The Port of Virginia is slowly recovering from weather-related events that put terminals over capacity and slowed productivity in the past month, spokesman Joe Harris said. “We’re starting to see some improvements, but still face challenges,” he admitted.
   The Virginia Port Authority on Tuesday provided an update on previously announced anti-congestion measures.
   In the past two weeks, the Port of Virginia has taken delivery of 95 additional chassis, with 15 having already been added to the Hampton Roads Chassis II pool operated by the port. Officials plan to increase the size of the chassis fleet by 400 units before the end of April.
   The port also broke ground Tuesday on a new rail container yard at Virginia International Gateway. When completed in June, the new storage area will allow for the separation of containers moving by rail and truck. The extra capacity is expected to improve the efficiency of semi-automated stacking cranes in the main yard and help improve dwell times for rail traffic because less sorting of containers will be required.
   The VPA said it has also completed the cross-harbor transfer by barge of three rubber-tired gantry cranes from Norfolk International Terminals to Portsmouth Marine Terminal, where officials are funneling more box traffic to relieve pressure at the main container terminals. During the past month, the VPA implemented a series of other measures to reduce stack density and backups at truck gates resulting from pent-up ocean deliveries that were postponed by snowstorms in February. The concentrated arrival of cargo pushed facilities near capacity over the edge.
   The terminal operations team at the port is also directing some smaller vessels to Portsmouth Marine Terminal, opening truck gates on weekends, temporarily reducing free time, grounding containers and repairing chassis to free up chassis for live loads, and enforcing a policy that empties be dropped at a special container yard outside the terminals.
   Truckers still face lines to enter terminals, but wait times are not as bad as they were at the peak of the congestion, Harris said, adding that officials are not satisfied yet with traffic flow at the gates.
   One major problem for the port is an overflow of empty containers. Harris said that although management has stripped the terminals of empties, the empty yard is bursting at the seams because ocean carriers are not evacuating them as quickly as possible. Port officials are urging vessel operators to grab as many empties as possible before departing for overseas origin destinations.
   George Berry, an independent trucker and director of the activist group For Truckers By Truckers, said truck queues haven’t really diminished, but instead have shifted inside the gate as terminals allow more trucks in and force them wait next to their assigned stack. Terminal resources still seem to be directed more to loading and unloading vessels, he said.
   Berry said the addition of cargo handling equipment to Portsmouth Marine Terminal is slowly improving cargo flow in the yard, but would have been more helpful if done sooner.
   As for the empty yard, he said port officials haven’t devoted enough resources to keep the facility fluid. Three top-handlers, for example, were recently moved over to Portsmouth Marine Terminal to help mitigate the back up there.
   “Basically, they are taking a Band-Aid off one wound to bandage another,” Berry said in an e-mail.
   He also expressed frustration that truck transactions are taking too long at Norfolk International Terminal, with some drivers waiting several hours to enter the facility to swap containers.

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