The Virginia Port Authority on Tuesday said rail traffic to and from its markets in the Midwest grew to more than 430,000 TEUs in fiscal 2007 and continues the trend of increasing rail volume at the port.
"[W]e are seeing extremely heavy export volume coming out of the industrialized Midwest as American-made products are becoming more competitive due to the weak dollar," said Thomas Capozzi, the port's senior director of marketing.
For fiscal 2007 ending June 30, the port's Midwest rail volume was 433,685 TEUs, an increase of 4.6 percent from 414,508 TEUs in 2006. June was the port's busiest month on record for Midwest rail volume with 44,006 TEUs handled. Volume set a weekly record of 11,097 TEUs June 22-28.
In 2006 27 percent of the state's port cargo moved by rail; the January-to-June average for this year is 29 percent.
"I cannot foresee our rail volume trending down," said Jerry A. Bridges, the port's executive director. "A series of external factors combined with the Heartland Corridor [rail route between Tidewater, Va., and Columbus, Ohio] coming on line in the next two years, we believe, will really begin to drive some heavy rail volumes. Overnight service via the Heartland Corridor to some of our primary markets is going to draw even more attention to this port."
First-half container volume at the Virginia Inland Port, the VPA-owned intermodal facility in Front Royal, Va., dropped 13.8 percent to 54,646 TEUs from a year ago as the hub handled fewer empty containers. In the first six months of this year import loads grew 8 percent, export loads were up 5 percent and empties dropped 14 percent.