Port of Virginia approves $61 million construction bid to expand rail capacity

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FILE – Shipping containers are stacked over a truck at the Port of Los Angeles Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, in Los Angeles. One month after President Joe Biden announced an agreement to have the Port of Los Angeles operate round-the-clock to help break a cargo backlog at the docks, officials disclose that hasn’t happened as they contend with a shortage of truck drivers and accessible warehouse space. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Port of Virginia announced on Friday that their Board of Commissioners unanimously a $61.5 million construction bid aimed at doubling the size of the Central Rail Yard at Norfolk International Terminals.

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“In a little more than two years The Port of Virginia will be served by the deepest and widest ship channel anywhere on the US East Coast,” said Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and executive director of the VPA. “Pairing that channel depth with modern terminals and significant rail capacity is going to attract big ships and more cargo volume. We are going to need the rail capacity to support the additional cargo we’ll be getting from this shift of big vessels to Virginia.”

In addition, the VPA board approved moving forward on an $18 million contract for up to three cantilever rail-mounted gantry cranes and their support systems.

These two projects combined will enable the port to accommodate 610,000 annual container lifts, as well as 1.1 million containers a year via rail.

Officials say the work is set to begin in February 2022 and be completed in late 2023.

Additionally, work is underway to take Virginia’s channel depth to 55 feet to accommodate the two-way traffic of ultra-large container vessels. That project is set to be completed in mid-to-late 2024.

“We have a clear roadmap for investment to stay ahead of the curve,” Edwards added. “These projects
will help meet the needs of our customers and the cargo owners while giving us the capacity and
capability to be the premiere US East Coast destination for rail cargo and big ships.”

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