The port of Virginia handled 248,526 TEU in February 2021.
248,526 TEU is a new February record for the Port of Virginia. “February’s record TEU volume was more than 40,000 TEUs ahead of February 2020 and was driven by heavy loaded export and import volume, up 8 percent and 13 percent respectively, and a significant increase in the number empty containers for export -- more than 48,000 TEUs. The previous record for February was set in 2019,” the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) said.
A comparison with February 2020 has to be seen in context that by February 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic had started to slow US port volumes, and Virginia’s Feb 2020 throughput was down 9% year-on-year. Compared to 2019, Virginia handled around 20,000 more TEU in February 2021.
Nevertheless, 20,000 TEU is still a significant increase, and Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, is anticipating the strong volumes to continue at least through the first half of the calendar year. “The Port of Virginia is consistently performing at a very high service level across all phases of our operation and this is important because we are working with various ocean carriers and cargo owners to process some cargo from other ports that needs to make its way to market,” Edwards said.
“As the vaccination campaign gains momentum, the supply chains are opening–up and the economy -- manufacturing and retail -- is building strength so we expect cargo flows to remain strong into the summer. We’re maximizing our investments and telling the industry that we have the capacity to handle more cargo while maintaining our delivery of service levels to the ocean carriers, motor carriers, railroads, and cargo owners.”
Two-thirds of the way through fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021) Virginia has processed more than two million TEU, which is up 7% (140,000 TEU) year-on-year. Despite the increased business the VPA says its “operational efficiency continues to improve: motor carriers are moving on-and-off the terminals in less than 45 minutes, rail dwell for imports is in the 40-hour range, berth productivity is strong, and there is good flow on the barge service moving between Richmond Marine Terminal and the Norfolk Harbour”.