Port of Norfolk soars during rough ocean freight market

Ocean cargo congestion has turned into the most important subject in logistics during the pandemic. Currently, there are more than 50 ships at anchor in San Pedro Bay, waiting for a berth at the Port of Los Angeles and every day it seems a new record is being shattered by ocean ports on every coast. The Port of Norfolk is no exception, reporting gain this month that their August volumes were 24% over 2020.

Every day the news is full of stories about the current disruption plaguing shippers, the record profits being reported by carriers and the steps shippers and government agencies are taking to push back against the problem. According to the American Shipper’s report on the outlook for the remainder of 2021, the forecast shows no relief.

Breaking the record from August 2018, the port handled 307,023 teus – an 18.6% jump. The port handled 172,094 containers in August, an increase of 26.4%. The number of rail containers it handled grew 32.9%, to 57,839; truck containers rose 23%, to 106,458; and barge containers increased 28.3%, to 7,797. But the Virginia Inland Port handled 3.2% fewer rail containers, with volumes totaling 2,794.

While we aren’t seeing the same disruption as the US West Coast, the infrastructure improvements are being pushed to the limit in Virginia. As larger ships call the port, thanks to a deep dredge in 2018, the internal staff required to service those ships have to grow in scale to keep cargo moving.

If you need assistance navigating the ocean freight market and want to look at options away from NY and LA, your Nelson international representative is ready to assist you. We’re working hard to meet the demands of the new normal and would love the opportunity to guide your business toward logistical success alongside us.