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Port of Virginia’s near-record month ‘speaks volumes’

Loaded imports and exports boost April volumes

April's volumes at the Port of Virginia were nearly 13% higher year-over-year. (Photo: Shutterstock/Mariusz Bugno)

April was the second-most productive month in the history of the Port of Virginia in Norfolk.

The Virginia Port Authority said Tuesday that the Port of Virginia handled 323,244 twenty-foot equivalent units in April, up 12.9% year-over-year. 

The all-time record was set in December 2021, and April was just shy of missing the mark, by only 2,300 TEUs, according to the port authority. 

Loaded imports rose by 3.4% in April to 142,639 TEUs, while loaded exports grew by 4.2% to 99,589 TEUs. 

Since the start of the port’s fiscal year last July, the port has processed nearly 1.2 million TEUs, a 10.2% gain compared with the same period in 2020 and 2021.

“There is a growing interest in The Port of Virginia. We’re efficient, we’re investing $1.3 billion during the next four years to ensure we have the infrastructure and capacity and our results speak volumes,” Virginia Port Authority CEO Stephen A. Edwards said. 

The port authority says it’s poised to handle additional volumes with new assets coming online soon. Two new ship-to-shore cranes will enter service at Norfolk International Terminals’ (NIT) South Berth later this month, and the port is also receiving 15 new hybrid shuttle trucks. 

“We’ve had very strong volumes thus far in May, so the arrival of this equipment is important. It will allow us to conduct the regular maintenance and repair of existing equipment without putting unnecessary pressure on our productivity,” Edwards said. 

The port authority also noted that Taiwan-based ocean carrier Wan Hai Lines started weekly AA7 service at NIT’s North Berth this month. The new U.S. East Coast service connects the port with several important Asian markets via the Suez Canal.

“Wan Hai is a good fit for the North Berth and is the first of several new service announcements that we’ll be making in the coming months,” Edwards said, adding that ocean carrier Hapag-Lloyd reworked the Mediterranean Gulf Coast Express service so that cargo lands in Virginia and goes overland by rail to California. 

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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.