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Port of Virginia welcomes pair of ship-to-shore cranes

Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) South is installing a pair of new container cranes that will enable the terminal to accommodate multiple ultra-large container vessels, the Port of Virginia said Monday.

The cranes are the final pieces of the South Berth’s $450 modernization optimization product, according to the Norfolk, Virginia-based port. They will go into service in late May. 

Once installed, the Port of Virginia will have 30 ship-to-shore cranes that can handle ultra-large container vessels: 12 at NIT South, six at NIT North and another 12 at Virginia International Gateway (VIG). 

The arrival of the cranes comes as the Port of Virginia handled 19% more volumes in February compared with February 2021 (see below).

The pair of cranes have a capacity reach across a vessel that is 26 containers wide, which is three to four containers beyond the reach of most cranes, the Port of Virginia said. 

“These cranes complete the $800 million in landside investments we made at both NIT and VIG,” said Virginia Port Authority CEO and Executive Director Stephen A. Edwards. “We started the effort in late 2016 and the result is 1 million units of additional lift capacity. We’ve modernized our terminals from the gate to the berth and created a 21st century, world-class port.”

Other investments include widening and deepening of the Norfolk harbor and its channels and expanding NIT’s central rail yard. The port also plans to modernize NIT’s North Berth.

(Photo: Virginia Port Authority)

February port volumes higher both sequentially and year-over-year

The port handled 296,201 twenty-foot equivalent units in February, up 19% year-over-year. February’s volumes were also a “strong bounce-back” from January, when volumes totaled 262,020 TEUs.

Volumes were down in January amid “lost workdays, omicron-driven staffing challenges and a high number of vessels that were off schedule,” the port said.

February’s loaded import TEUs grew 30.5% to 143,476 TEUs. That volume was 48% of February’s overall volumes. Loaded export TEUs were up 1.3% to 88,582 TEUs. 

Total containers in February rose 18.9% to 162,674 TEUs. 

“We had a very high level of productivity in a short month,” Edwards said. “We are keeping our eye on a number of things that could have an impact on our operations. The Russia/Ukraine situation, inflation and rising oil prices are all things that require our attention, so we will watch and adjust if necessary.”

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