The Port of Virginia is expanding its “westward reach” starting April 1 with new daily rail service between the port’s primary container terminals and Norfolk Southern’s (NS) regional intermodal terminal near Memphis, Tenn.
The Class I railroad’s regional terminal is in Rossville, which is located about 40 miles from Memphis and on its Crescent Corridor route. In addition to NS, Memphis is served by UP, BNSF, CSX and CN, and according to the Greater Memphis Chamber, cargo moving through the city can reach 45 states and Canada and Mexico by rail within two days.
The new service follows The Port of Virginia’s June 2022 announcement that it had teamed with NS, UP and Hapag-Lloyd to help shippers reach West Coast markets. Cargo is unloaded at Norfolk International Terminal—the largest of six Port of Virginia terminals—and hauled to Chicago by NS and on to California by UP.
“Both exporters and importers have asked us [Norfolk Southern and the port] to develop a high-quality Memphis rail service,” Virginia Port Authority CEO and Executive Director Stephen A. Edwards reported on March 14. “When we first discussed this possibility, we agreed consistency was critical to developing a first-class product that provides daily service to and from this market. We have spent the past six months working together to ensure we are both ready and capable to meet customer expectations.”
Edwards noted that the port is engaged in a $1.4 billion Gateway Investment Program, which includes expanding the port’s overall annual rail capacity to 1.8 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units); completely renovating the North Berth at Norfolk International Terminals to create the capacity for 800,000 lifts, annually; and deepening the commercial shipping channels to at least 55 feet deep and making them wide enough for two-way traffic of ultra-large container ships.
The Port of Virginia is also served by CSX and the Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad Company.