Last month we began our 3 part series on the Port of Virginia discussing the NS Heartland Corridor. This was exciting news by itself for our area and industry, but it isn’t the only thing happening for this port!
For years now experts have been projecting significant growth in container volumes destined for the East Coast once the Panama Canal expansion is complete in 2014. The Virginia Port Authority (VPA) has been preparing for these projected increases for a number of years with significant investments in new equipment, new berths, and new terminals in hopes of becoming the largest and busiest port on the East Coast.
Of course, improvements to rail capacity and barge services would be required to enable the port to distribute the large numbers of containers flowing through the port. Some of those improvements, like the NS Heartland Corridor, are already underway. Similiarly, the National Gateway is a project being undertaken by CSX to allow double-stacked container trains to travel to the Mid-West via its more northerly route through Pittsburg and Toledo. CSX estimates similar improvements in speed and capacity as NS has achieved with the Heartland Corridor. NS is also working on another large public-private partnership known as the Crescent Corridor that involves improving the capacity and speed of the NS lanes stretching between Louisiana and New Jersey. This project is expected to be complete by 2013 and will provide the Mid-Atlantic area with reduced rail transit times to cities up and down the East Coast.
To take advantage of these improvements to rail capacity and transit times, the VPA has recently completed the first phase of a multi-phase expansion to its NS rail facility at the Norfolk International Terminal by adding on-dock access for CSX through its lease of the APM Terminal in Portsmouth (see Port of Virginia Blog Post from July for more on this topic).
The advantages and selling points that the Port of Virginia enjoys virtually guarantees they will win a portion of the projected growth headed to the East Coast, but how large that portion becomes is still hard to call. Many companies are betting big though! Over the last four years numerous real estate development companies have purchased large tracts of land or constructed speculative industrial and office buildings in the area in advance of the projected need. Three companies have made unsolicited offers to purchase or lease the entirety of the port facilities and operations from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Based on this I would say many people believe much of that projected growth is going to come to the Mid-Atlantic. Is it time your company considered the Port of Virginia as well?
Evans Distribution Systems operates 200,000+ square feet of warehouse space in the Norfolk, VA area. If there is something we can help you with in this area (or across the U.S.) contact us at 313-827-9921.