For years the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) has been making improvements in its cargo handling infrastructure to attract and accommodate vessels like the Tomoko, which at 1,089 feet (332 m) is approximately the same length as the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers that are home-based in the Port. Those improvements include new cranes and berths, reconfigured container yards, a new container rail operation and greater use of the latest cargo handling and tracking technology.
“The arrival of the MSC Tomoko marked an exciting milepost for the Port of Virginia,” said VPA Executive Director Jerry Bridges. “This doesn’t mean all vessels calling Virginia are going to be this size, but this was the beginning”.
The VPA believes this summer’s scheduled opening of Norfolk Southern Railroad’s Heartland Corridor double-stack direct rail route to Columbus and Chicago will make the port an even attractive port of call for large post-Panamax container ships. “Much of the container volumes generated by ships in this size range typically moves by rail, and the Heartland Corridor will provide the necessary rail component, said Bridges.