Port of Virginia greenlights rail expansion plan

Sunrise over a cargo ship terminal

The Virginia Port Authority (VPA) Board of Commissioners has approved plans to expand its central rail yard to handle over a million rail containers a year.

By 2023 the port will greatly expand its Central Rail Yard at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) to handle 1.1 million containers a year via the rail system.

Approved by the board on 16 November, the Allan Myers Virginia Inc.’s $61.5 million bid will begin construction in February 2022 and be completed late 2023.

Additionally, the VPA board approved moving forward on an $18 million contract with Konecranes for up to three cantilever rail-mounted gantry cranes and their support systems.

When complete, NIT’s Central Rail Yard will be able to accommodate 610,000 annual container lifts; current lift capacity is 350,000 at NIT and 480,000 at Virginia International Gateway (VIG).

The project will also support further optimisation of NIT as the port begins its preliminary planning for expanding the container capacity at the terminal’s North Berth. When complete, the project will create the throughput capacity to handle 630,000 containers annually. The design work is scheduled for completion by the end of 2022 with construction to begin in the spring of 2023.

Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and executive director of the VPA, commented, “In a little more than two years The Port of Virginia will be served by the deepest and widest ship channel anywhere on the US East Coast.

“Pairing that channel depth with modern terminals and significant rail capacity is going to attract big ships and more cargo volume. We are going to need the rail capacity to support the additional cargo we’ll be getting from this shift of big vessels to Virginia.”

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