The Virginia Port Authority [VPA] in the first half of fiscal 2008 posted substantial gains in its rail volume and the amount of cargo VPA moves by rail is forecast to continue to increase.
‘In the last five-to-seven years our rail business to the Virginia Inland Port [VIP] and our dedicated Midwest traffic has grown and we have posted some double-digit increases, but these are some of the best numbers we have ever posted,’ said Thomas Capozzi, the VPA’s director of marketing. ‘It means that our customers are capitalizing on two of our strengths: the economics of moving cargo through VIP and our overall strong rail connections to key Midwest markets.’
From July 2007 to February 2008, VPA’s rail volume to and from the Midwest was 345,128 teus an increase of 20% or 59,695 teus over the same period last year. At VIP, 46,139 teus were handled, an increase of 12,387 teus or 36.7% when compared with the same period in 2007.
Capozzi said export cargo, driven by the weak dollar, was a large part of the reason for the increase in the Midwest rail traffic. ‘Cargo that normally isn’t put into containers, grain from the Midwest for example, is now being boxed for export,’ Capozzi said. ‘We recognized that trend and went after that business.’
The growth experienced at VIP, however, was import cargo. ‘New accounts in that area ’ new distribution centers in Front Royal—are the primary reasons for the strong numbers there.’
Capozzi said he doesn’t see a slowdown in rail volume coming anytime soon. The weak dollar and overall growth at The Port of Virginia coupled with the scheduled late 2009 or early 2010 opening of the Heartland Corridor direct double-stack rail route to Columbus, Ohio, should continue to drive growth of the VPA’s rail business.
Comparative numbers for July 2007 ’ Feb. 2008; numbers reflect all container traffic:
FY 08 vs. FY 07 = 20.9%
FY 07 vs. FY 06 = -3.6 %
FY 06 vs. FY 05 = 15.3%
FY 05 vs. FY 04 = 16.1%
FY 04 vs. FY 03 = 7.3%
Virginia Inland Port Rail
FY 08 vs. FY 07 = 36.7%
FY 07 vs. FY 06 = -19.4 %
FY 06 vs. FY 05 = 20.1%
FY 05 vs. FY 04 = 77.5%
FY 04 vs. FY 03 = 23.6%