Virginia to Become US Hub for Reefer Imports


The Port of Virginia has completed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) “Southeast In-Transit” Cold Treatment pilot programme, increasing its capacity for refrigerated imports by 66%.

According to a statement, importers of perishable foodstuffs from South American countries will now be able to transport their cargo through Virginia.

John F. Reinhart, CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority, said: “We’re the U.S. East Coast’s leading vegetable exporter, and this designation positions us to achieve the same success with imported fruit.

Søren Leth Johannsen, Maersk, discusses next-gen efficiency in reefer operations in a recent Port Technology technical paper

“This is important for logistics and supply chain managers importing agricultural products because it means this cargo will get to its market more quickly.”

Approval from the USDA, to receive more refrigerated imports, coincides with a US$700 million investment from the port to expand reefer capacity at its two primary container terminals, Virginia International Gateway (VIG) and Norfolk International Terminals (NIT).



Reinhart commented: “We’re expanding the stack-yard at VIG and reconfiguring the yard at NIT, and both of these projects include new reefer racks for each stack.

“When construction is finished, we’ll have nearly 900 reefer spaces at each terminal, which is a 66 percent increase in total reefer capacity.”



Virginia has also announced that it can handle reefer cargo on the Richmond Express barge, which links the port’s terminals in the Norfolk Harbour to Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT).

With refrigerated shipments of fruit no longer required to pass through Northeast ports alone, shippers are expected to benefit from lower transportation costs and a longer shelf life for their products, while consumers in the US will see lower prices for those products.

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