Norfolk – The Port of Virginia in April was in positive territory across-the-board in all of the monthly cargo measures it tracks including double-digit TEU growth that made April the third best month in the port's history.
John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority said he was "cautiously optimistic" by the report.
"We are moving forward on many of our initiatives and thus far (in May) we are seeing progress on the rail operation at NIT (Norfolk International Terminals) as we have more than half of our new yard hustlers working and supporting that operation. In addition, we are the seeing the benefits of having a portion of PMT (Portsmouth Marine Terminal) operational with the Pasha/Chrysler vehicle exports. We were positive in every category of our monthly report, including an operating profit of $468,000."
The port posted an operating profit in March and April following seven consecutive months of losses. Reinhart said the port's focus on operational efficiency and productivity will continue and that there are many steps ahead that need to be taken to move the port into a long-term, positive financial position.
"Our service performance is improving, but we have not attained the level required to satisfy our customers and be competitive. Through the work of the Motor Carrier Task Force, we are beginning to see some improvements in turn-times for motor carriers, but we have to become consistent in this area of operation. We have a lot of room for improvement and we are keeping the focus across the port on service and reliability.
In April, cargo volume at the port grew 12.3 percent, an increase of 22,021 TEUs when compared with the same month last year. The month's growth was led by exports, which increased by 12.4 percent (11,930 TEUs) when compared with last April. There was also growth in breakbulk tonnage, 41.7 percent; rail containers, 13.1 percent; barge containers, 21.8 percent; and vehicle units, 327.3 percent.
The port's calendar year-to-date TEU volumes remain the highest in its history, with 746,019 TEUs having been moved. Fiscal year-to-date TEU volumes through April are also at record levels with 1,915,276 TEUs having been handled thus far in fiscal 2014.
"Overall, we are encouraged by the direction and what we are seeing," Reinhart said. "There is a lot of hard work ahead of us and our team is gaining traction and momentum."
Calendar year TEU totals, 2014 vs. 2013:
- April 2014 = 201,390
- April 2013 = 179,370
- March 2014 = 197,834
- March 2013 = 179,518
- February 2014 = 179,524
- February 2013 = 169,390
- January 2014 = 167,272
- January 2013 = 158,766