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  • OTLT.USA
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  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
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    3.330
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  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
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  • WAIT.USA
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  • ITVI.USA
    15,411.130
    -4.180
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  • OTLT.USA
    2.740
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  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
    0.000
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  • OTVI.USA
    15,375.870
    -11.650
    -0.1%
  • 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
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
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  • WAIT.USA
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American Shipper

Winter storms cost Port of Virginia half a million dollars

The latest round of congestion mitigation at the port involves transferring of RTG cranes to Portsmouth terminal.

   Snowstorms that forced the closure of marine terminals for four days cost the Port of Virginia $560,000 in February, the port authority said this week.
   Port officials have been scrambling this month to deal with the ripple effects of the closures. The emergency measures are significantly increasing operating expenses.
   For example, the port is transferring equipment by barge from Norfolk International Terminal to improve container handling efficiency at Portsmouth Marine Terminal, which has begun to bog down as more cargo volume has been shifted this month to the stop-gap facility.
    Container operations at PMT were shifted three years ago, when traffic was lighter, to NIT and the Virginia International Gateway to create economies of scale and utilize better infrastructure. A portion of the idle facility was reopened last fall as a relief valve when the other terminals became congested, and port officials in March have made a concentrated effort to store more containers at PMT as they try to dig out from cargo that piled up after bad weather last month forced the port to close for several days.
   Port officials said last week that three rubber-tired gantry cranes would be moved to PMT from NIT.
   On Wednesday, the port’s terminal operation division loaded three rubber-tire gantry cranes onto barges and floated them across the Elizabeth River, where cranes lifted them onto the PMT wharf.
   Officials planned to have two of the machines ready for use Thursday morning.
   The port authority said it expects to begin taking delivery of seven new top loaders early next week. The equipment will be deployed at PMT. One of the units will be held back as a spare in case any of the others experiences mechanical problems. Last week, officials announced two more top loaders were ordered and that two more are scheduled for delivery in April.
   Terminal managers have been transferring containers from Virginia International Gateway to PMT by barge to reduce density in the stacks so yard cranes can locate containers with fewer moves. Operating beyond capacity has resulted in long lines of drayage trucks spilling out onto the shoulder of the highway waiting to carry out a transaction.
   Officials recently had to temporarily scale back gate hours at PMT to minimize backups there too.
   The new cargo-handling equipment will increase lift capacity at PMT, which officials expect to help improve operational consistency and reduce wait-times for motor carriers. 
   The port also will break ground Friday at Virginia International Gateway on a rail cargo yard, which will reduce the size of stacks for gantry cranes to work by limiting them to lifts for trucks.
   Other congestion mitigation measures taken by the port this month include temporary increases in export and import free time, adding weekend gates for several weeks, grounding more containers to free up chassis, ordering more chassis and redirecting some smaller vessels to berth at PMT. 
  The Virginia Port Authority said it had budgeted for a $288,000 operating loss in February, but the lost revenue from undelivered boxes, snow removal, a temporary halt to eastbound export rail traffic and lost productivity due to difficult work conditions increased the loss. In January, the port lost about $1 million, its first operating loss in six months. CEO John Reinhart, now entering his second year on the job, had begun to stabilize the port’s financial situation and improve cargo fluidity before bad winter weather slammed the Hampton Roads area again. February’s loss was less than the $1.3 million in February 2014.
   “It was a difficult month, the residuals of which we are still addressing,” Reinhart said in a statement. “The storms and ensuing closures had a negative effect on every phase of our operation, especially service to motor carriers. 
   “The volume was lower than forecast and prior year because of vessel delays where 7,000 moves from February did not occur until the first days of March,” he added. “Further, we had to halt eastbound export rail for work to clear up rail cargo on terminal. Those delays resulted in volume and revenue reductions in February, much of which we will be captured in March.”
   Fiscal-year-to-date, the port is still running an operating profit of $4.6 million, versus a prior year operating loss of $16.6 million.
   “February is behind us and March continues to be extremely challenging, but we will continue to invest and target a positive operating result for the fiscal year,” Reinhart said. “We have not been able to deliver consistency at the gates at Virginia International Gateway, but we are taking multiple steps and putting forth our best effort to restore service there. We continue to be committed to delivering reliable service to our customers, stakeholders and partners.” 

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