Virginia’s vicissitudes

Virginia’s vicissitudes

Recent pronouncements concerning the US Port of Virginia have been causing confusion among industry observers. Despite the recent truck congestion issues, the Port declared that it has rewritten its record books as the 2013 teu throughput volume was “the best on record,” with the port having handled more containers and rail cargo than at any time in its history.

With a 2013 total of 2,223,532 teu, “We were incredibly productive in all facets of our operation,” said Rodney Oliver, interim executive director of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA). “The year’s production is a testament to hard work and getting back to focusing upon the core mission of moving cargo.”

Conflicting vibes

Conversely, a report in the local media, namely The Virginian-Pilot has just stated that Governor Terry McAuliffe is not only critical of the port’s performance but that he does not intend to tolerate continuing losses at the VPA.

McAuliffe says he plans substantial changes at the VPA and has also Virginia Transportation Secretary to determine whether the authority’s ’s 20-year lease of APM Terminals’ Portsmouth facility can be renegotiated.

Following a review a review of the port’s finances McAuliffe has revealed that the port has lost US$120m over the last five years.

Moneys received

This news was then followed by another upbeat announcement from the VPA that it had just received a US$750,000 federal toward the purchase of three pieces of low-emission, hybrid cargo-handling equipment, which will be the first of its kind on the US East Coast.

“We’re going to phase-out some older machines that have come to the end of their usefulness and will eventually be headed to recycling,” said John Reinhart, VPA’s CEO and executive director. “The port is an economic engine and as part of that we have a responsibility to do business in an environmentally-sound fashion, where and when possible. This is an opportunity to act upon that.”

The port is replacing a trio of ageing, Tier 1 diesel-powered straddle carriers with Tier 4 Kalmar diesel-electric shuttle carriers. Straddle carriers are used at Norfolk International Terminals and shuttle carriers are used at APMT in Portsmouth, which is where the new machines will be deployed.

Tier 4 engines are the cleanest-running diesel engines available to industry with certain emissions reduced by as much as 90% through the use of control technologies, including advanced exhaust-gas after treatment.