Handles record-setting 1.98M teus

The Port of Virginia completed 2005 having handled a record-setting 1.98 million teus, or 9.6% growth in throughput when compared with 2004. Moreover, Virginia Port Authority (VPA) leaders are forecasting no slowdown in the port’s growth in 2006.

‘We’re expecting very similar growth this year,’ said Tom Capozzi, the VPA’s senior managing director of marketing. ‘Each year we establish a new record for volume—in October we handled 188,500 teus, best month in VPA history. We’re signing long-term contracts with our steamship line customers, there’s no congestion at our terminals and we continue to improve the services we offer; it’s a good formula for growth.’

The 2006 cargo forecast is 2.14 million teus, or eight percent growth. Capozzi said as demand for imports continues to increase the port will grow as a major US import facility. The state’s network of more than 50 distribution centers, the port’s strong rail connections to the Midwest and the fact that more ships are coming from the Far East to Virginia via the Suez and Panama canals all work in Virginia’s favor.

Two of the highlights of 2005, Capozzi said, were the strong showing of the Virginia Inland Port (VIP), the port’s intermodal facility in Front Royal, VA, and the port’s overall grow in rail volume heading to and from the Midwest.

In 2005, VIP handled 35,665 containers, a 25.6% increase over 2004. The growth in Midwest rail volume was up 25.6% in 2005 when compared with 2004; the totals were 226,675 teus and 180,430 teus, respectively.

In addition to its strong cargo numbers, the port saw a 3.5% increase in the number of ships that called in Virginia 2005. In 2005, 2,178 ships came to Virginia, compared with 2,104 a year earlier.

The 2005 breakbulk cargo total was 498,745 tons.

The port ended 2005 with two solid months of performance: in November the port handled 177,712 teus a 16.6% increase in throughput when compared with 2004 and in December 173,022 teus were handled, compared with 160,470 teus handled in December 2004.