Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Port of Virginia begins three-year expansion project

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A rendering showing the full build out of the Virginia International Gateway. A rendering showing the full build out of the Virginia International Gateway. Port of Virginia

The Port of Virginia (VPA) began a three-year, $320-million expansion effort at the Virginia International Gateway (VIG) on Feb. 13.

The project is one of two large-scale expansion projects that when complete, will increase overall annual container capacity by 40 percent by 2020.

Survey crews began the preparatory work to expand the rail/container stacking yard at VIG. VPA says that from a wider perspective, the work signals the start of the effort to double the existing container capacity at VIG. The overall project includes expanding the container stacking yard, doubling the on-dock rail operation and the expanding the truck gate.

"This is an important day in the history of The Port of Virginia; it is an important milestone in our effort to increase sustainability and to prepare this port for what is to come," said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of VPA. "We are adding capacity now so we can handle the cargo that will be coming to us in the very near future. The big ships are here — more are on the way – and they are carrying significant amounts of containers and Virginia will be ready to accommodate that volume."

In July, the port will begin work on its other large capacity project: the expansion of the south stack/container yard at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT). This $350 million project will allow the port to create greater density for cargo at NIT and expand annual capacity there by 400,000 containers. For this project, the container stack yard will be completely reconfigured and it will be served by 60 new rail-mounted gantry cranes. The project will be complete by 2020.

In addition to the rail yard expansion and stack/container yard expansion, the port is undertaking a gate and warf expansion as part of the two projects.

When complete, the capacity expansion at VIG will create the ability to process 1.2 million containers annually at the terminal; present capacity there is 650,000 containers. Further, the expansion's potential economic impact could result in 166,000 jobs across the commonwealth of Virginia, $22 billion in additional spending and more than $636 million in state and local taxes.

Last November, the port and Virginia International Gateway, LLC, agreed to a new long-term lease for the 576-acre facility. The lease, which went into effect Nov. 17, 2016, and extends through 2065, cleared the path for the port to begin work on the expansion.

"We believe that the continued investment in people, technology and those capacity projects being undertaken at the Port of Virginia during the next three-to-four years are positioning this port to become the U.S. East Coast's premiere port: a true gateway to world trade and a catalyst for commerce in Virginia," Reinhart said.

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