The growth of ocean container volume at the Port of Virginia in September slowed to 1.5 percent, year-over-year, to 185,185 TEUs, primarily due to fewer exports.
Large U.S. container ports usually receive more import containers in the late summer and fall as companies stock up for the holiday shopping season, although the buildup has become less pronounced in recent years because of the sluggish economy and new logistics patterns.
Box volume at the Port of Virginia is down by 20,000 TEUs since July. However, last month was the best September in the port's history, and the port still enjoys a 6.3-percent gain in container volume year-to-date.
The percentage of cargo moved by intermodal trains reached an all-time high of 35.8 percent in September. It is the fourth time this year that rail cargo, as a percentage of total container volume, has exceeded 35 percent. The port has experienced double-digit rail growth, year-over-year, in 10 of the last 11 months from its Norfolk International Terminal and APM Terminal.
The Virginia Port Authority last week said import TEUs increased 4.5 percent to 87,398, and exports dropped by 9 percent to 97,787. For the calendar year, imports are up 7.5 percent and exports are up 5.2 percent.
Also, in September, the Virginia Inland Port posted its second-best volume month in the last three years. September volume was 3,374 containers, up 10.6 percent from the same month in 2012.