Norfolk – The Port of Virginia set a milestone in August as the port's fledgling weekly container barge service, called the 64 Express, marked its 100th voyage.
The 64 Express links the container terminals in Hampton Roads with the Port of Richmond; the service was started in December 2008. Since its start, the barge is estimated to have eliminated between 100 and 200 truck trips a week from the I-64 corridor between Richmond and Norfolk.
"The 64 Express is an important port asset and we are seeing it generate interest to the point where it may be necessary to increase its frequency," said J.J. Keever, the senior deputy executive director of the Virginia Port Authority.
A team of public and private interests including the Richmond Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Maritime Administration, the Virginia Port Authority, Port of Richmond, Virginia DOT, Federal Highway Administration and the private sector collaborated to make the service a reality.
The team's vision was to provide an economically feasible service that accomplished several key objectives: 1) to provide an alternate avenue to/from Hampton Roads and the central part of Virginia 2) to reduce highway, bridge and tunnel congestion and 3) to reduce the environmental impact created by trucks in Hampton Roads and along the I-64 corridor that results from that congestion.
The service is owned and operated by the James River Barge Line, a subsidiary of Norfolk Tug Co.