Intermodal Briefs: Alabama Port Authority, PA/NYNJ, Port of VirginiaWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Alabama Port Authority’s Port of Mobile breaks the 560,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) annual throughput threshold for the first time. Also, Port of New York and New Jersey (PA/NYNJ) moves more than 9 million TEUs in 2022, up 27% from pre-pandemic 2019; and construction of five new STS (ship-to-shore) cranes for the Port of Virginia is under way with delivery set for December 2024.
The Alabama Port Authority on Jan. 20 reported that a record 563,191 TEUs were handled in 2022 at the Port of Mobile—the ninth year the Port has logged double-digit growth since 2009. Total container volumes were up 11% from 2021, and intermodal rail volumes continued a 31-month record of triple-digit growth, ending the year up 142% over 2021, according to the Port Authority. Additionally, the container terminal handled a record 312 vessels, an increase of 75 vessels over 2021.
The Port of Mobile is located in the northern Gulf of Mexico and offers access to an international airport and two interstate highway systems. The intermodal container transfer facility (ICTF), which is slated to be an on-dock facility by 2025, provides access to five Class I railroads (BNSF, CN, CSX, Kansas City Southern and Norfolk Southern) plus Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway, CG Railway and Alabama Export Railroad.
“These numbers reflect shippers’ confidence in Alabama’s port, and Mobile has consistently offered supply chain stability,” Port Authority Director and CEO John C. Driscoll said.
“With proven fluidity, the Port of Mobile continues to attract new routes, creating more direct services from the Far East to Mobile and enhancing our gateway’s connection to growing global markets,” said Alabama Port Authority Chief Commercial Officer Beth Branch.
According to the Port Authority, by 2025 it will expand its capabilities to one million TEUs upon completing the Phase IV expansion at its container terminal; develop logistics facilities in Mobile; and open a new inland intermodal facility served by CSX in Montgomery, Ala.
PA/NYNJ on Jan. 25 reported moving nearly 9.5 million TEUs in 2022—the first time in its history. It said it also “managed a 26-month-long streak of monthly record cargo high activity” in 2022 and became the nation’s busiest container port during the peak months of the holiday shipping season.
In December 2022, the Port handled 613,011 TEUs, a 3.6% increase from December 2019. Monthly cargo volume dropped 15.2% compared with November 2022, when the seaport handled 723,069 TEUs. November cargo volume decreased by 8.6% compared with October 2022, when the seaport handled 792,548 TEUs, as “the seasonal peak of activity associated with incoming holiday merchandise ended,” according to PA/NYNJ.
The Port of Virginia on Jan. 25 reported finalizing a $61.6 million contract with Shanghai-based Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (ZPMC) for five new cranes, as part of an equipment renewal plan.
The cranes will be able to accommodate the ultra-large container vessels (ULCV) making regular stops in Virginia, according to the Port, which noted that each crane has the capacity to reach across a vessel that is 26 containers wide—three to four containers beyond the reach of most cranes.
Crane specifications include a height of 170 feet above the dock; boom-out length of 226 feet from the rail closest to the water; and per unit weight of 1,827 tons.
Delivery is scheduled for December 2024, with two of the units going to Virginia International Gateway (VIG) and three to the South Berth at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT). They will replace an equivalent number of existing cranes at both facilities. Once in place, the Port will have 30 ship-to-shore cranes at work in the Norfolk Harbor.
“These cranes will ensure our lift capacity, berth productivity and the ability to handle multiple ULCVs simultaneously at our primary container terminals, VIG and NIT,” Virginia Port Authority CEO and Executive Director Stephen A. Edwards said.
In related developments, Port of Halifax in Canada marked a milestone in 2022; Port Houston in Texas posted record volume in 2022; Port of Oakland in California experienced full-year 2022 and December 2022 container volume falloffs; the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California said 2022 was their second-busiest year on record; and South Carolina Ports announced a record 2022 with the most containers ever handled at the Port of Charleston.