New Virginia truck gates open Friday

New Virginia truck gates open Friday

The first truck passes through the Port of Virginia's new gates during the christening ceremony.

The Port of Virginia on Tuesday christened its new North Gate, a 26-lane gate complex with updated technology that will speed the flow of truck-borne cargo to and from Norfolk International Terminals (NIT), one of the largest, busiest, and oldest terminals on its waterfront.

The $42 million North Gate project is part of a larger investment the Virginia Port Authority has undertaken to improve productivity for shippers, said CEO and Executive Director John Reinhart.

“We are investing $350 million here to expand our container handling capacity by 400,000 containers,” Reinhart said. “In order to handle more cargo at the berth and stack yard, our means of moving cargo to and from our terminals — rail, barge and truck — must expand and modernize in parallel.”

The North Gate, which will double NIT’s total gate capacity, will open to all motor carriers Friday. While providing immediate gate capacity improvements, by the end of 2017, the North Gate will also provide direct interstate connection via the I-564 Intermodal Connector.

The road project will provide motor carriers serving NIT with safe, quick, and direct access to I-564. Moreover, it will alleviate congestion and improve the level of service on the streets of the city and the nearby Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base in the world and an epicenter for regional traffic. Construction on the $169 million, four-lane road project is underway and officials with the Virginia Department of Transportation have said the North Gate’s dedicated access road will be ready by year’s end.

“Two years ago, NIT’s North Gate was a small, four-lane complex that was staffed by full-time security personnel and served container traffic, vendors’ vehicles, and personal cars,” according to the port. “As container volumes at NIT grew, more and more pressure was being put on NIT’s 16-lane South Gate.”

“As we expand our markets, add capacity, and continue to improve efficiency across all of our operations, more and more cargo is going to come to Virginia,” Reinhart said in a statement.

Last calendar year, the port handled 2.89 million TEU, according to data from PIERS, a sister product of JOC.com within IHS Markit.

“We are within days of completing our best fiscal-year performance on record — 2.7 million TEU — and the need for an expanded North Gate that provides safe, direct access to the interstate is greater than ever.”

Contact Reynolds Hutchins at reynolds.hutchins@ihsmarkit.com and follow him on Twitter: @Hutchins_JOC.