It was a challenging year. It almost feels like bad luck to discuss how difficult 2020 was on each and every one of us around the world. Personal lives were torn apart; professional lives were in upheaval; the supply chain bent and bent until it almost broke (some may say it did break, but we’re trying to stay positive). Even now securely ensconced in 2021, it feels like we’re looking back on straight chaos.
However, if we follow the numbers, especially in logistics, 2020 wasn’t terrible. Yes, reliability was destroyed. Yes, equipment is basically non-existent and some carriers are refusing bookings because they need the empties to get more cargo from Asia. And yes, air travel is in the dumpster and cargo space is crippled with the loss of bellies on passenger craft. All that is old news. At the end of the year, we had a lot of wild numbers regarding the trade that’s been zooming across our borders since 2019. While the Port of Norfolk didn’t put up a banner year like they did the last decade, they only missed the 2019 record by 145,000 containers. Considering they’re moving millions a month? That’s a pretty good end to a pretty tough year.
The port released their yearly overview and has given us a month-by-month highlight, should anyone want to go back and remember that in April cargo volumes fall nearly 39,000 TEUs in a single month, the result of an increasing number of blank sailings.
Still, 2020 ended with the most productive quarter in its history having handled more than 814,000 TEUs in October, November, and December (combined), growth of more than 13 percent when compared with the same quarter in 2019. The record volumes were processed without issue at the port’s two, newly expanded container terminals.
It’s too early to spot the calamities coming down the pipeline for this year, but we have faith our business and port will be supported by our hard work keeping your cargo running smoothly.