The Bulletin

Port of Virginia hit cargo volume records in 2021, 2022

By: - February 16, 2023 10:25 am

A boat passes in front of the Port of Virginia. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

The Port of Virginia is rebounding after a difficult stint during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Data from the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission show the port moved record high volumes of cargo in both 2021 and 2022. Cargo volume was 5% higher in 2022 than 2021.

Joseph Harris, a spokesman for the Port of Virginia, said the port and others had “fantastic years” in terms of volume and revenues. However, he said ports nationwide may soon return to average volumes now that demand from people placing orders during the pandemic has dropped. 

While January volume data looks “really good,” he said it’s uncertain how that will evolve in the coming months due to factors such as increasing prices on goods.

“All these things have a bearing on the shipping industry,” said Harris.

The Container Port Performance Index developed by the World Bank and S&P Global Market Intelligence ranked the Port of Virginia as the best performing port in North America in 2021. At the time, much of maritime transport was at a standstill as the U.S. and other countries faced supply chain issues during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission credited the Port of Virginia’s ownership and management of its terminals and truck carriages — a system it called the “Virginia Model” — for allowing “quicker decisions that ensure greater efficiency rather than losing time while competing financial interests are resolved.” 

The Port of Virginia took a hit during the pandemic after seeing increases in monthly volume in 2018 and 2019, according to the commission.

Virginia is planning to increase its use of the Port of Virginia as part of the commonwealth’s plan to transport goods, relieve traffic congestion and reduce carbon emissions. The port is also expanding its central rail yard at Norfolk International Terminals.

The port said it also plans to operate with net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 by transitioning to renewable energy sources, reducing fuel emissions and investing in zero-emission technologies.


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Nathaniel Cline
Nathaniel Cline

Nathaniel is an award-winning journalist who's been covering news across the country since 2007, including politics at The Loudoun Times-Mirror and The Northern Neck News in Virginia as well as sports for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. He has also hosted podcasts, worked as a television analyst for Spectrum Sports, and appeared as a panelist for conferences and educational programs. A graduate of Bowie State University, Nathaniel grew up in Hawaii and the United Kingdom as a military brat. Five things he must have before leaving home: his cellphone, Black Panther water bottle, hand sanitizer, wedding ring and Philadelphia Eagles keychain.