Record-setting cargo volumes in March and monthly revenue that exceeded forecast are indicators that the corrective-action plan being implemented at The Port of Virginia’s (POV) is beginning to show results, said the port’s chief executive officer.
“It has been a very disciplined, team-oriented approach to stem the losses,” said John F. Reinhart, the CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “We had an operating profit of $150,000 in March; this is just one month and we need many more just like it and significantly better. Still, this is a beginning, something we can build upon, and reinforce the initiatives underway to rebuild The Port of Virginia. There remain significant systemic challenges that need to be corrected to reduce costs, improve services and velocity across the port.”
In March, cargo volume at the port grew 10.2 percent, an increase of 18,316 TEUs when compared with the same month last year. The month’s growth was led by imports, which increased by 12.8 percent (10,248 TEUs) when compared with last March.
There was also growth in breakbulk tonnage, 16.5 percent; rail containers, 5.3 percent; barge containers, 4.7 percent; and vehicle units, 27.9 percent.
“This strong volume growth in all categories was managed well across our operations,” Reinhart said. “We continue our efforts to build velocity through the port by increasing productivity and process improvements – the very disciplined effort that helped stem the losses and generate a small operating profit.”
Reinhart said one solid month is no reason to rest. He said the port has to focus on developing greater efficiencies in all facets of the cargo operation, and noted multiple steps taken to improve throughput and more coming this summer.
“We’re talking about a process of continual evaluation, corrective action, improvement, investment and adaption that will carry the port into the next decade,” Reinhart. “It is this process that will put us on a sound financial course going forward, but there is a lot of hard work ahead of us to build sustainability.”
The port’s calendar year-to-date TEU volumes remain the highest in its history, with 544,629 TEUs having been moved. Fiscal year-to-date TEU volumes through March are also at record levels with 1,713,886 TEUs having been moved during the first three quarters of fiscal 2014.