November 20, 2019

Port of Virginia on track for record-setting year

Year-to-date cargo volume up nearly 5% despite flat October; tariffs continue to affect some exports, officials say.

By DC Velocity Staff

The Port of Virginia is on track for a fifth record-setting year in cargo volume, officials said earlier this month, pointing to a near 5% increase in volume year-to-date in October.

The solid performance comes despite a flat October and the short-term effects of tariffs on some exports, officials also said. 

"We continue to see the impact of the tariffs on some of our agricultural exports that would normally be heading to China and this will continue until both sides reach a compromise on that issue," John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, said in a statement. "Additionally, export markets are feeling the effect of the strong dollar. The increased cost overseas of American-made goods creates a challenge for exporters."

Reinhart added that these are short-term issues and that the port remains focused on service and productivity, including an expansion project that will allow ultra-large vessels to access the port. The expansion project, which includes dredging the port's Norfolk Harbor and commercial channels to 55 feet and widening them in certain areas, is underway.

The Port of Virginia processed a total of 266,976 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in October, down 1.3% compared to the year-earlier period. Loaded export TEUs were flat, loaded import TEUs were down 2.8%, and total containers were down 1.8% during the month. Year-to-date cargo volume through October was up 4.7%, officials said.

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