Carroll Trucking

Port of Virginia

Your Guide to Marine Terminals: How to Navigate the Port of Virginia

Did you know that the Port of Virginia has dedicated services with connections to 200+ countries worldwide? More than 40 international containers are serviced at this port per week.

If you’re considering the Port of Virginia for your shipping needs, you might wonder why. What’s so beneficial about this port compared to others? While choosing the right port for your needs might feel challenging, it doesn’t have to be. Read this guide on marine terminals and how to navigate the Port of Virginia today.

Where Is the Port of Norfolk Located?

The Port of Norfolk is located adjacent to Interstates 564, 64, and Hampton Boulevard in Norfolk, Virginia. It’s divided into three major sections: The Central Rail Yard, the North Terminal, and the South Terminal. It’s about 40 minutes east of Colonial Williamsburg, 20 minutes from the Norfolk International Airport, 20 minutes west of the Virginia Beach Ocean Front, and 30 minutes from the Newport News Airport. Norfolk International terminals are found along the Lafayette and Elizabeth rivers. It’s about 150 nautical miles south of the Port of Baltimore.

The coordinates are N 36 degrees 53 ‘ 50.09″ – W 076 degrees 20’ 51.39″. The official code is USORF. The Port of Norfolk has over 6,500 linear feet of berthing to 50 feet. It can handle up to 14,000 TESU vessels. The top five routes for shipping containers to Norfolk include:

  • Valencia
  • Rotterdam
  • Ningbo
  • Alexandria
  • Barcelona

What Makes the Port of Virginia or Port of Norfolk Unique?

The Port of Norfolk is a large-sized port that often sees Sailing Vessels, Pleasure Crafts, Container Ships, Bulk Carriers, and Fishing Vessels. The maximum length seen has been 396 meters. Norfolk International Terminals is the largest terminal in the Virginia Port Authority. NIT South is 4,230 linear feet, and NIT North is 2,400 linear feet. It’s part of an urban area with Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Hampton Roads. It’s also the memorial for U.S. General Douglas MacArthur. The Port of Norfolk is also an important military center for the U.S. Navy. It’s also the home port to the Second Fleet and the headquarters for the U.S. Joint Forces Command and NATO’s Allied Command Transformation.

The Port of Virginia experienced record volumes in 2022. The Port of Virginia is the deepest water harbor on the U.S. East Coast.

It has the world’s largest naval base, the largest shipbuilding, and repair industrial base. The Port of Virginia has six terminals: Newport News Marine Terminal, Norfolk International Terminals, Virginia International Gateway, Richmond Marine Terminal, Portsmouth Marine Terminal, and Virginia Inland Port. Money continues to be placed into the expansion of this area, and they can service and have some of the largest vessels available. They have that capacity above the waterline in their terminals. They’re working below the waterline now and, by the end of 2024, will spend to meet customers’ needs and continue to improve.

What Type of Ships Can Come Through the Port of Virginia That Gives It Advantages Over Other Ports on the East Coast?

Almost 30 international shipping lines have direct service to and from Virginia. You can find roll-on/roll-off, breakbulk, tanker, bulk, and international container vessels. It has 55+ terminals, 22 Suez-class ship-to-shore cranes, 50-foot channels, and 0 Air Draft Restrictions.

It’s an attractive area for foreign investments. The port also has a dry port. It also has a well-maintained railway network for the smooth transport of goods. The United States Navy base is located here. It uses about four miles of waterfront space and 11 miles of pier and wharf space on the Hampton Roads peninsula. You’ll find defense industries along with NATO’s Allied Command Transformation and the U.S. Joint Forces Command.

Tunnels and Bridges

In Hampton Roads, there are plenty of tunnels and bridges. You have the Hampton Roads Bridge and the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge for tunnels. You also have the Midtown Tunnel at Route 58 and the Downtown Tunnel at I-264. Lastly, there’s the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Bridges include:

  • James River Bridge, Routes 258/32/17
  • George P. Coleman Bridge, Route 17
  • High Rise Bridge, I-64
  • South Norfolk Jordan Bridge, Route 337
  • Gilmerton Bridge, Routes 460/13

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel connects the Tidewater region of Virginia to the Delmarva Peninsula and Eastern Shore. The term bridge tunnel means that it operates as both an underwater tunnel and bridge. It’s recognized as one of the world’s seven engineering marvels by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Port of Virginia Benefits

Although companies have seen supply chains stretched beyond their limits, the Port of Virginia has stayed dedicated to maintaining cargo fluidity and supporting businesses. The Port of Virginia has a 200,000 lift capacity increase, additional cranes added in March 2022, and 26 Suez-class ship-to-shore cranes. There are also 20 hybrid shuttle trucks available. It has added over one million TEUs of capacity, meaning it can process the cargo that makes its way across the docks. There are plenty of ocean services for your business to choose from. Transit times are forecast to see an improvement in the coming years. Many larger retailers are increasing their East Coast distribution. The port is excellent for truck drivers as well. The average truck time at the port is less than an hour.

The Port of Virginia is also close to major population centers. It’s close to I-264 and I-64. Due to this, you’ll experience quick transportation across the country and reduced port drayage costs.

Your customers will receive their products quicker when you have merchandise or products in multiple locations. Also, being closer to population centers is vital in today’s marketplace. This will denote when and where to build warehouses for long-term and short-term use. Due to more capacity and continually improving, you have more ways to move cargo. The Port of Virginia has the largest intermodal rail port on the U.S. east coast. Enjoy reliable rail production to the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest markets, and open sea, as well as 45+ countries. There are 30 global port calls. The Port of Virginia also has 24/7 customer service.


The terminals can process over 4,000,000 containers yearly. They also have the first position in rail volume on the east coast. They’re the only U.S. port with Congressional authorization for 55-foot depth channels. The Port of Virginia has 50-foot channels and berths, 26 Suez-class ship-to-shore cranes port-wide, and is permitted and authorized for future marine terminal expansion. The Port of Virginia is working to become the U.S. east coast’s gateway for global trade. The port will invest billions into infrastructure for the terminals to handle any form of cargo. There will be an additional widening of the Thimble Shoal Channel to service ultra-large container vessels. Expansion will ensure they can come in and out fully loaded without one-way traffic restrictions. Two-way flow of ultra-large container vessels will be possible. Vessels won’t be restricted by channel or tide width.

What Vessels Come Into the Port?

Some top commodities include:

  • Electrical machinery
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Plastics
  • Nuclear
  • Electrical
  • Tobacco
  • Toys, games
  • Iron
  • Beverages
  • Organic Chemicals
  • And more
  • Some carriers include:
  • Hamburg Sud
  • APL
  • Atlantic Container Line
  • Evergreen
  • Hyundai
  • Hapag-Lloyd
  • Maersk Line
  • Maersk Line-Safmarine
  • OOCL
  • One
  • MSC
  • Turkon
  • Wallenius Wilhelmsen
  • Yang Ming
  • ZIM

Vessel schedules can vary, so check often. The route Kaohsiung is the longest transit time to ship a container to Norfolk. It takes about 40 days. The next longest routes include Mawei and Xiamen, both about 38 days. The shortest transit time is Algeciras. It takes about nine days. Bilbao and Leixoes take about ten days. The CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt, the largest vessel to come to the U.S. East Coast, came into the Port of Virginia. The vessel has a capacity of 14,400 twenty-foot equivalent units. An average week for Asia to the United States can see 19 vessels ranging in size from 9,300 TEUs to more than 15,000. They can come from South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, New York, Nova Scotia, Halifax, and the Suez Canal. On average, there are over 45 countries, including indirect services of 200+. There are about 13 weekly vessels from Europe and about 15 from Asia. Integration with local logistics is key to reaching markets. Goods can reach Columbus or Chicago by rail and 2/3rds of the United States population by truck.

What Other General Stats and Information Are Important To Know About the Port of Virginia?

Norfolk International Terminals is the largest terminal in the Virginia Port Authority. NIT South is 4,230 linear feet, and NIT North is 2,400 linear feet.

The top trading partners by value include:

  • China
  • Brazil
  • Belgium
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Japan
  • India
  • Spain
  • Austria

The Virginia Port Authority manages the Port of Virginia. It handles more than 2.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo per year. It extends over an area of 1,864 acres. It has 30 miles of on-dock rail. You’ll find a thriving coal trade and the sixth-largest containerized cargo complex in the United States. The port has 50-foot channels, both inbound and outbound.

It’s the only east coast port with Congressional authorization to dredge 55 feet with the Norfolk Harbor Dredging Project. It has the deepest channel on the east coast. The Port of Virginia is a hub port. Both roll-on/roll-off vessels are serviced here. The Virginia Port Authority is exempt from state and federal taxes, so it receives no state funding from the General Fund. Port operations are mostly paid for through trade. Although, it did receive funding for the dredging project to create the deepest and widest shipping channels on the east coast.

How Many Pounds of Cargo Come In and Out of the Port Every Year?

There are one in thousands of short tons, but this number continues to increase. A short ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. In March alone, the port handled 314,698 twenty-foot equivalent units. That’s 12.6% higher year-over-year and higher than January and February’s.

Is the Port of Virginia the Biggest Port in Virginia?

The largest terminal is the Port of Norfolk. The TEUs are 1,312,476, which is 4.50% of the total. It’s been around since the early 1970s, and you can see the nearby Elizabeth and Lafayette River landmarks. The Port of Norfolk is divided into three sections: the Central Rail Yard, the North Terminal, and the South Terminal. The Port of Virginia is the fifth largest container port in the United States. It’s located on the harbor of Hampton Roads, Virginia. It’s the second-largest port on the East Coast by tonnage. This is due to the export of coal. It’s the third-largest port on the East Coast by container volume.

How Many Terminals Are in the Port of Virginia?

The terminals include:

  • Virginia Inland Port (VIP)
  • Portsmouth Marine Terminal (PMT)
  • Newport News Marine Terminal (NNMT)
  • Norfolk International Terminals (NIT)
  • Virginia International Gateway (VIG)
  • Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT)
  • Pinners Point Container Yard (PPCY)
  • Portsmouth Chassis Yard (PCY)
  • Reefer Service Area (RSA)

Time and availability will vary for each, and so will trucks for the Virginia Port Authority. They’ll monitor the volume and the on-terminal experience of their trucking partners.

Understanding Marine Terminals: The Port of Virginia

After exploring this guide on marine terminals at the Port of Virginia, you should better understand why it’s so popular. The options are endless with continual updates to infrastructure, various terminals, and several forms of travel. Are you ready to get started having your items trucked to the Port of Virginia or Norfolk? We can help! Contact us today. We move freight from one mode to the next. This helps reduce shipping costs and has your items arrive much quicker. If you have any questions, we’re happy to help. We also offer a high-quality warehousing facility for your goods. Commodity warehousing for agricultural products has many requirements that we meet. We perform evaluations to ensure that everything is functioning at peak condition.

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