Continuing on with our Port of Virginia growth series I want to talk about their idea of a “One-Stop” Port. Keeping in mind the investments in the port infrastructure have already been made and the other improvements under way (Part 1 – Heartland Corridor, Part 2 – National Gateway) this seems like the next logical step for the Port, right?
To help accomplish this significant growth, the Port Authority hopes to sell the Port of Virginia as a “One-Stop” Port by being capable of off-loading and distributing all of the containers from vessels that will eventually be too large to easily navigate into other ports on the East Coast. Currently, container vessels typically call several of the East Coast ports on their voyages, off-loading and loading containers at each port based on ultimate destination. The Port of Virginia would like to change that so that the larger container ships off-load all of their imported containers, load all of the export containers departing from the East Coast, and then simply return to the foreign port of origin. The advantages to the Steamship Line would be faster transits and more efficient use of the vessel which could translate into reductions in ocean-freight rates for shippers.
The advantages that make the “One-Stop” port viable for Steamship Lines can also be enjoyed by importers utilizing the Mid-Atlantic as their distribution point on the East Coast. The first benefit to both is simple geography. The location of the Port of Virginia in the middle of the East Coast allows access to markets in the Northeast as well as markets in the Southeast. There are currently over 97 million people within a single day’s drive of the port. So, using the Port of Virginia could allow importers to simplify their supply chains and use a single port of entry on the East Coast. Their full container load shipments could be direct-railed to larger markets while their smaller markets could be serviced by using a local third-party logistics (3PL) company to deconsolidate containers for distribution. Another key selling point for potential customers is reduced expense. Port related fees, labor expenses, real-estate expenses, and tax rates are all lower at the Port of Virginia when compared to the Northeast Port areas. Companies both large and small could establish offices or operations near the port or use a local 3PL to take advantage of these lower expenses.
I, for one, am looking forward to seeing great things happen in the Norfolk area and can’t wait to see the difference a couple years makes in this area!
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.