The Port of Virginia handled a record 2.22 million TEUs in the full year of 2013, resulting from increased import and export volumes. The volume eclipsed the container throughput handled in 2007, previously the best year on record, by 95,166 TEUs.
“The year’s production is a testament to hard work and getting back to focusing upon the core mission of moving cargo,” said Rodney W. Oliver, interim executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, in a written statement. “Our growth in 2013 was 5.6 percent and that is in addition to the 9.8 percent growth we achieved in 2012. These totals demonstrate that there is a lot of confidence in the Port of Virginia.”
Import TEUs for the full year of 2013 tallied 1.04 million, and exports were 1.19 million, representing year-over-year increases of 6.4 percent and 4.8 percent respectively.
The port’s rail operation handled 430,894 containers in 2013, increasing 11.7 percent compared with 2012.
“We finished 2013 with rail cargo representing 34 percent of the port’s total container traffic, which, on a calendar-year basis, is the highest percentage in the port’s history,” Oliver noted. “The port has experienced double-digit rail growth in 11 of the last 14 months.”
In 2013, Virginia picked up two additional services, the G6 CEC Suez service and the Zim ZCP Asia-Panama Canal service, and its intermodal volume increased as benefits from the Norfolk Southern-run Heartland Corridor were felt. In the first nine months of 2013, Virginia’s market share in the Northeast grew from 20.1 to 21.2 percent, while competitor New York-New Jersey’s share slipped from 55.1 to 53.1 percent as it struggled with congestion and delays.
Despite the port’s record performance throughout the year, 2013 was capped off with a 2.5 percent year-over-year decline in TEU throughput in December, which totaled 181,091. Monthly import TEUs reached 81,369, falling 2.7 percent, and exports accounted for 99,722, dropping 2.3 percent.
In JOC’s 2014 Annual Review & Outlook, Oliver said the VPA is planning for the “very real possibility” of the P3 Network, which is expected to control up to 42 percent of trans-Atlantic trade. He noted that larger ships and larger discharges will change the dynamics of daily operations, and ports that miss out on calls from P3 ships will suffer. To prepare for mega-ships, U.S. ports are increasingly focusing on better information flows and reduced delays for trucks to increase operational efficiency. Notably, in 2014, Global Terminal in Bayonne, N.J., is expected to leapfrog the Port of Virginia’s Portsmouth, Va., terminal as the most technologically advanced U.S. container terminal.