Thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which gave $72 million in funds to the project, the Port of Virginia is embarking on another dredge and widening project that is expected to make the port the deepest and widest port on the east coast. The total project cost will be around $450 million split between both the Federal Government and the port itself.
The dredge will make the new depth of the port approximately 58 feet (16.7 meters) and widen the channel to approximately 1400 feet (426 meters). The closest port in size or depth to the expected size of the Port of Norfolk will be the Port of Charleston at 52 feet.
At completion, the Port of Norfolk will be able to accommodate two ultra-large container vessels leading to safer two-way traffic and faster turnaround for loading and unloading. Currently, the port can handle one post-Panamax size ship, but not two. Oversized ships are currently not able to move through with other oversized ships. The new channel will make passage safer for large ships to move freely past each other.
East Coast ports have been increasingly congested this year as vessels are diverted away from the congestion and disruption of the west coast where last year saw more than 100 ships queued in the San Pedro Bay due to the pandemic. While many only think of the NY / NJ ports on the east coast, labor relations talking coming this summer have shippers and importers looking at alternatives on the east coast, of which the Port of Norfolk is on a rocketship to build out the infrastructure to meet the coming demand.
If you’re concerned about the congestion on the west coast or finding alternatives as the import boom continues, your Nelson International representative can help you find the best routing. We’ll continue to update our readership as more construction and updates are done in Virginia.