Virginia to Host Mega-Ships by 2020?
Port of Virginia aims to be the "US East Coast’s premiere port" and accommodate vessels in the 12,000-plus TEU range after it completes two large-scale projects that will nearly double the terminal’s annual cargo handling capability in 2020.
The port’s overall annual container capacity is expected to increase by 40%, or 1 million container units, resulting an estimated 166,000 jobs, US$22 billion in additional spending and more than $636 million in state and local taxes.
This month marks the start of the two projects as the port has begun a $320 million expansion of its Virginia International Gateway (VIG).
Terry R. McAuliffe, Virginia’s Governor, said: “We believe that the continued investment in people, technology and those capacity projects being undertaken at The Port of Virginia during the next three-to-four years are positioning this port to become the US East Coast’s premiere port.
“Very soon, we are going to see vessels in the 12,000-plus TEU range, we are processing record amounts of rail cargo and the demand for our services is growing. We have momentum and our timing coincides well with the changes in the industry.”
The first project includes expanding the container stacking yard, doubling the on-dock rail operation and the expanding the truck gate, with the wharf work creating a new berth space to handle a larger class of container ship that will begin crisscrossing the Atlantic Ocean before the end of the year.
A longer wharf will make way for four new Suezclass container cranes that will handle the larger vessels and cargo loads. The wharf project begins March 15, 2017, and is scheduled for completion in the winter of 2018.
When complete, the capacity expansion at VIG will create the ability to process 1.2 million containers annually at the terminal, almost double the current capacity of 650,000 containers.
This growth will add to the growing success of US ports in 2017 as, according to research firm Panjiva, US-bound ocean shipments increased 5% across all of the nation’s ports in January. This follows the success reported by Port of Oakland, Port of Virginia and Port of Los Angeles, which all set new records.
John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA), said: “This sends a very clear message — worldwide — that The Port of Virginia is investing for the long-term and we will be able to service the vessels of any ocean carrier here at what will be one of the most modern and efficient container terminals in North America for decades to come.”
In the video below, Richard Joy, PTI Editor, spoke to Gene Seroka, Executive Director, Port of Los Angeles, on how to handle the largest ships calling in the whole of the US.
Seroka outlines his port's three pronged strategy: