Four new inbound truck lanes recently opened at Virginia International Gateway, increasing the capacity at the terminal’s gate complex by 30 percent, according to Virginia Port Authority Spokesman Joe Harris.
“Each week at VIG we process more than 13,000 truck transactions, and our motor-carrier partners handle nearly two-thirds of the volume moving across the port,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “We are taking the necessary steps to ensure Virginia remains a global gateway and we are committed to continually improving the daily experience of our partners, customers and stakeholders.”
Harris said drivers are getting in and out of the terminal faster thanks to the new lanes and other recent updates and boxes set to go on rail are waiting 26 hours or less at the terminal on average.
“With the new capacity we’ve added, we’re seeing greater throughputs, greater cargo velocities and more efficiency. There are also some other things we’ve done at VIG, including implement the N4 Terminal Operating System and bring onboard a reservation system for motor carriers that requires them to have a reservation to pick-up and drop-off containers during the busy portions of the day,” Harris said. “All these things are working in concert to really optimize the terminal and make best use of the capacity we’re bringing online.”
The new lanes are part of a greater expansion plan underway at both VIG and Norfolk International Terminals. Harris said both projects are on budget and on schedule, with the VIG expansion slated for completion in June 2019 and the NIT project expected to wrap up about a year later. Both projects are aimed at increasing capacity and improving efficiency.
“By 2020, construction will be done and we will have expanded our capacity by 40 percent, or 1 million containers,” Harris said. “We’re building a modern, progressive port with the long-term in mind. The moves we are making here today, we believe, will set us up for success for decades to come.”
Virginia Port Authority has also undertaken a channel-deepening project, which will take that state’s commercial channels from 50 to 55 feet. The commercial channel serving Norfolk Harbor will also be widened to allow for safe-two-way traffic. The targeted start date for this project is January 2020, according to Harris.
“The demand is high, and it has been for some time. People want to take advantage of Virginia’s position in the Mid-Atlantic. We’re a day’s drive from two-thirds of the nation’s population. They want to take advantage of deep water,” Harris said. “We don’t have any overhead obstructions, so there’s very quick and efficient movement of vessels in and out of the port. We have both CSX and Norfolk Southern on dock offering double stack service, so all those things coupled with the moves we’re taking to expand, we’re seeing a lot of interest from both existing customers and new customers.”
Each of the new lanes can process up to 800 transactions each week, according to Virginia Port Authority.