WASHINGTON: The Port of Virginia ended last month with a bang – its best June on record. The close of the month also marked the end of its best-ever July-June fiscal year.
The port’s terminals moved 231,675 containers, as measured in standard 20-foot units or TEUs, in June, a 7 percent gain from the same month a year ago. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, the port handled 2.76 million TEUs, a 7.3 percent increase from the same period a year earlier. “We finished fiscal year 2017 with a solid volume increase and thus marked our fourth consecutive fiscal year of volume growth,” said John Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, in a statement. “We grew in the right areas, we moved a record-amount of volume across all modes of transportation, train, barge and truck – and did so safely – and we continue to improve our service levels.” Import-loaded TEUs outpaced export loads for both the month and the fiscal year: For June, import loads rose 10 percent year over year, while for the fiscal year, they grew 10.8 percent.
Export-loaded TEUs fell 0.3 percent for the month and were up 6.8 percent for the fiscal year. Empty outbound TEUs were up 23.6 percent for June, year over year, and 2 percent for the fiscal year. Volume growth for rail and truck containers moved in June through the port was neck-and-neck: Rail containers were up 6.8 percent, year over year, while truck containers rose 6.9 percent. For the fiscal year, rail-container volume rose 11.3 percent and truck containers 4.6 percent. Breakbulk tonnage – non-containerized cargo packed in or on bales, drums or pallets – dropped 50.6 percent in June, year over year, and fell 25.6 percent for the fiscal year. The port is in the process of expanding capacity at its two biggest container terminals – Norfolk International Terminals and Virginia International Gateway in Portsmouth. Together, the projects represent an investment of $670 million. “We will not let up, there is still much work to be done and we are up to the task,” Reinhart added. Fiscal-year financial results will be released later this year, said Joe Harris, a port spokesman, in an email.