Led by strong exports, the Port of Virginia in January handled 167,272 TEUs surpassing the mark set in January 2013 by 8,506 TEUs.

“We had forecast growth in 2014 and in the first month our volume exceeded our forecast,” said John F. Reinhart, the Virginia Port Authority’s CEO and executive director. “We’re strong on the export side because the ocean carriers are taking advantage of Virginia’s deep water and loading heavy on the out-bound leg of their journey.

“We expect the carriers to take even greater advantage of that asset as the bigger vessels get introduced into service. As that happens, this port is going to grow, so we are going to have to become more efficient. We are discussing this very issue – efficiency—right now internally and with our rail, motor carrier, ILA and ocean carrier partners.”

January’s TEU volume was up 5.4 percent compared with the same month last year: export traffic increased by 7 percent (90,797 TEUs) and imports had a 3.5 percent increase (76,475 TEUs). Rail volume was also strong, with 32,277 containers handled during the first month of the year, an increase of 8 percent when compared with January 2013.

The port continues to have record-high fiscal-year-to-date TEU volumes through January: throughput for the first seven months of fiscal 2014 is 1,336,528 TEUs, up 5.2 percent when compared with the same period from fiscal 2014. Additional measures for January: Virginia Inland Port containers, +14 percent; breakbulk tonnage, -1.9 percent; total barge containers, -7.9 percent; ship calls, -1.9 percent; and vehicle units, -4.1 percent.

Calendar year TEU totals, 2014 vs. 2013:

• January 2014 = 167,272

• January 2013 = 158,766