Port of Virginia business up, but profits down.

PORT_logo_2014_RGBThe Port of Virginia is extremely happy at the increase in volume over last year; their most recent report had them with an 8.6% gain over this same time last year.

We are able to feel this increase, too. This increase was fueled by an increase in export containers; up 12 percent from a year ago.

The increases are welcome, but the problems that we were experiencing earlier this year with congestion and poor truck service have not abated and are still responsible for reduced throughput and productivity.

The continued increase in business over the course of the year shows that the port will finish more than 7% ahead of last year’s figures if the trend lines remain the same.

Because the Commonwealth operates the terminals themselves rather than having franchisees run them, the breakdowns land squarely at the feet of the Port Authority and its executive director, John Reinhart.

Virginia’s ports have more than a third of their cargo arriving and departing by rail, one of the highest percentages in the nation. However, the portion that leaves by truck has increased more than 20% from last year. To cope with this, the port has added extra labor costs and hours which ate into their profits.

On the whole, the prognosis and health of the port is solid. Combined with the continued progress towards the opening of the third set of locks on the Panama Canal, carrier alliances and consolidations and shipper demands for more choices than just the US West Coast, Norfolk will be a key player in international trade not just in containerized cargo, but bulk and other types of shipments as well.

(Photo Credit Courtesy Flickr user Missy Schmidt, CC BY 2.0)