Not surprisingly, 2020 was a bumpy year for North Carolina imports and exports. The major ports in the region, the Port of Norfolk and the Port of Wilmington, experienced significant decreases in container volumes when the pandemic hit, but then saw operations rebound toward the end of the year. In this article, we’ll look at some of the things that these ports are doing to improve operational capabilities to support business now and in the future.
Regional port enhancements to import and export operations
At the Port of Norfolk (the Port of Virginia), two large ship-to-shore cranes are coming online, each capable of handling vessels carrying up to 19,000 TEUs. This will give the Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) and Virginia International Gateway (VIG) 15 ship-to-shore cranes at each terminal. Each of these new cranes is capable of servicing three ships simultaneously and, together, the cranes are expected to support 400,000 additional container lifts per year.
The Port also recently received a $20 million grant from the federal government to expand the rail yard at the NIT terminals. This expansion will increase the number of working rail tracks to eight, while also creating a new area for staging containers. This expansion will further bolster the increasing use of rail and intermodal transportation within the regional supply chain.
Next up for the Port of Norfolk, the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) will seek approval and funding for deepening the Norfolk harbor to 55 feet (from 50 feet) and widen the Thimble Shoals Channel. These enhancements will support visits from larger Post-Panamax ships.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, the Port of Wilmington will be home to a new intermodal terminal that will better serve the region’s agricultural industry. The North Carolina State Ports Authority has received approval from the state to build the new terminal, which will enable the state’s bulk agricultural products to be transferred from rail to ocean containers for export.
The Port of Wilmington made the news again in recent weeks, as funding for a project to deepen its harbor was signed into law as part of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020. This project aims to deepen the harbor from 42 feet to 47 feet to support larger ships. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [USACE] still needs to complete its review, but the project is now in motion.
Lean on Kanban Logistics to support your regional imports/exports
If you’re shipping into or out of the Ports of Norfolk or Wilmington, Kanban can perform drayage services to get your products into storage and/or distribution. We have over 1 million square feet of distribution center space in Eastern North Carolina, with quick access to the Ports, intermodal terminals and the I-95 corridor. From these DCs, we can perform an array of services, from warehousing and cross docking to transloading in support of rail-to-truck transloading needs. To learn more about our services, contact Kanban today.