Virginia port says new low-emissions yard equipment will help lower dwell time


New lower-emission yard equipment will make the Port of Virginia a cleaner operation, but also help lower the time that ships spend in port and dwell time for containers at terminals, port leaders say. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

The Port of Virginia will add lower-emission yard equipment to its two largest container terminals with the help of settlement funds from Volkswagen’s emissions scandal. 

The Virginia Port Authority (VPA) voted unanimously to spend up to $40 million for two all-electric cranes from ZPMC and 20 hybrid shuttle carriers from Kalmar. About $28 million of the funds will come from a state trust established as part of Volkswagen’s settlement for falsifying emissions levels for its diesel engines. The remainder of the funding will come from the VPA.     

Along with making the port a cleaner operation, the new equipment aims to lower the time that ships spend in port and dwell time for containers at terminals, VPA chief executive John Reinhart told JOC.com.

“We’re just continuing to accelerate the pace with which we can move ships, our container discharge rate, load them on rail and truck and get them on their way so we can get them to the final destination,” he said. 

The cranes will be installed at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT), which can handle 2.1 million TEU annually.

NIT currently has 14 cranes capable of serving vessels up to 20,000 TEU in capacity. Another two cranes will be in service by December 2020. 

The two cranes authorized in the VPA’s Tuesday vote will arrive next year and be installed at NIT’s south berth, bringing its crane count to 12 and NIT’s total to 18. Reinhart said the new cranes will allow Virginia to more quickly service large vessels calling on the port. 

“You can maybe add more cranes to different shifts to improve berth productivity,” Reinhart said. “You can have three ultra-large container ships there at one time. So with 12, you can have four on a ship, or you could have five on a ship and then rolling one over to the ship that started with three and it just gives you flexibility.”

The shuttle carriers are headed to the VPA-operated, but privately owned Virginia International Gateway (VIG), which sits across the Elizabeth River from NIT. VIG, a semi-automated terminal, already has 49 shuttle carriers and has an annual capacity of 2.1 million TEU.     

The additional investment will cap the approximately $760 million Virginia has invested in the two terminals over the last two years, adding 1.75 million TEU in total container handling capacity at NIT and VIG.      

Contact Michael Angell at bizwritermike@gmail.com.



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