NORFOLK, Va. – The Port of Virginia reports that it is moving record-breaking volumes of goods as the economy begins to normalize. This comes after spikes and shortages experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“March was our second-best month in the history of the Port of Virginia,” stated Joe Harris, Senior Director of Media Relations for the Virginia Port Authority.
Harris explained how over the past few years, Norfolk International Terminal and neighboring Virginia International Gateway both had a major upgrade, undergoing an optimization project. He said the timing worked out very well.
“That investment was $800 million in expanding our capacity at our terminals,” Harris stated. “We added more than a million lifts of capacity on top of what we already had.”
The massive facilities import and export all sorts of products.
“We move parts for manufacturing, raw materials. We move a lot of Virginia-grown soybeans for exports,” described Harris. “Rubber for tires, silverware, textiles - you name it, it moves through the Port of Virginia.”
As the ports in Hampton Roads process record numbers of goods, there’s a global shortage of shipping containers.
“What you’re seeing is a need for those containers because of the pent-up demand for trade that came as a result of COVID,” stated Harris. “So, all those things that have interrupted the normal flow of empty containers. It’s not a permanent state of things. It will sort itself out, but it will take some time.”
Harris said that because of the location and state-of-the-art equipment, as well as a professional team, Virginia is leading the way in the trade industry.
“We’re responsible for about $92 billion in annual revenues, so the Port of Virginia is a real economic engine for the state,” Harris said. “We’re providing world-class service in terms of how quickly the trucks come in and out of the port, how quickly the railroads move in and out of the port and how quickly we can service these ships.”
Harris says because of these assets, many companies are looking at Virginia.
“You’re seeing companies like Amazon, Brother International (maker of home office machines) Bissell, and many others coming to the area, because they want access to world markets and they want to access those world markets through the Port of Virginia.