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Cargo down 9 percent at Port of Virginia because of coronavirus

The port's margins for March were almost 9 percent lower than last year. Officials say they're hopeful for a gradual recovery, but foresee more tough weeks ahead.

NORFOLK, Va. — The Port of Virginia released its March volumes report Thursday, revealing a cargo drop of almost nine percent from the same month last year.

John Reinhart, the CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, wrote that they expected the new coronavirus to have an impact on business, and have already adjusted their predictions for April.

“As we predicted, the impact on our volume continues," Reinhart said. "The good news is that indicators show China’s manufacturing sector gaining strength and the cargo is beginning to flow."

Reinhart said the port expects "tough weeks ahead."

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Here's a snapshot of the March numbers:

  • Total TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) – 219,315, down, 8.6 percent
  • Loaded Export TEUs – 90,762, up 1.7 percent
  • Loaded Import TEUs – 99,129 down, 7.4 percent
  • Total Containers – 122,655, down 9.2 percent
  • Virginia Inland Port Containers – 2,217, down 26.2 percent
  • Total Rail Containers – 43,528, down 11 percent
  • Total Truck Containers – 74,133, down 8.5 percent 
  • Total Barge Containers – 4,994, down 3.7 percent 
  • Richmond Barge Containers – 3,517, up 28.4 percent

The port is looking at long-term and short-term container storage possibilities, and focusing on the cargo it has been able to transport.

"We’re continuing to swiftly move our customers’ cargo to where it’s needed – including COVID-19 test kits and medical supplies," Reinhart wrote.

He praised his team for remaining professional in such an unpredictable trade environment.

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