Congestion? Or a Passing Ship in the Night?

Snow storms hit the Port of Virginia twice in late January, shutting down the port both times, and increasing congestion that port officials believe will be cleared out in just a few short weeks. It started out with 11 vessels anchored outside of the port, and grew to 14 within a week. 

Snowfall reaching as much as 1-2” an hour at times, hit the state of Virginia and spread to the ports. The snowfall not only caused several trees to fall throughout the state, but as a result, made nearly 450,000 residents go without power. An average of 70-90% of people in some areas were without electricity, and this affected the port’s operations to the point where things were inoperable. Being the largest snow since 12/9/2018, the destruction of infrastructure was on the same level as Hurricane Isabel. 

While the Port of Virginia skirted the roughest parts of 2021 in one piece, the snow storms created a ruckus that closed down operations for a full 96 hours, causing vessels to bunch outside of Norfolk Harbor as a result. 

The port has been able to handle such problems as this because of the measures taken to make it one of the most operable ports on the East Coast. Where places like Los Angeles and Long Beach ports are run by 2 distinct organizations, the Port of Virginia’s terminals are run by a single entity: The Virginia Port Authority. Should a single terminal become congested, Virginia’s Port Authority easily diverts cargo to another. Los Angeles also deals with three trucking providers unrelated to the terminals, whereas the VPA has sole control over the trucking fleet. 

Weather can be an unpredictable thing, but here at Nelson we are prepared to weather the storm together and come up with creative solutions to help keep cargo moving. While the Port of Virginia has some backlog due to these storms, rest assured that the port can handle clearing the vessels anchored off shore in just a few short weeks. Equipped with the tools and technology to get things moving quickly, the Port of Virginia will be back on its feet in no time. As for Nelson, we will work together with the port to create new and improved ways to clear up this congestion.