U.S. ports continued their busy pace in July, with officials in Virginia and Georgia reporting record cargo volume for the month and continued strong demand as peak shipping season gets underway.
The Port of Virginia processed more than 293,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in July, the second-busiest month of the year and the best July on record, officials said. Total volume through the port rose nearly 33% year-over-year. The port is processing an average of 282,000 TEUs per month so far this year, and the outlook calls for a steady increase heading into peak season, officials also said.
“August’s cargo volume, thus far, is strong. We are at the beginning of peak season and we are anticipating a busy retail season,” according to Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “As we move into this busy period we’re going to remain agile. Our customers and the cargo owners using The Port of Virginia will see us adjust operations as necessary to meet demand, maintain efficiency and to ensure the unimpeded flow of cargo across our terminals.”
Officials from the Georgia Ports Authority posted similar results yesterday, saying the Port of Savannah handled 450,000 TEUs in July, up 25% year-over-year, and that auto and machinery units through the Port of Brunswick rose nearly 40%. Officials said they expect continued elevated demand in both regions through the end of the year.
Ongoing infrastructure improvements in both Virginia and Georgia are helping address the growing volumes as well, officials from both ports said.
The reports follow news of a slowdown in July at the Port of Oakland. A year-long cargo surge slowed and volume dipped 3.5% during the month, officials at the West Coast port said last week, adding that they expect growth to resume as peak shipping season arrives. The Port attributed the decline to record cargo volume through the port in the first half of the year that resulted in delays that caused some shipping lines to omit several voyages to Oakland.
“Vessel berths and container yards were crowded with some shipping lines bypassing Oakland,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director Bryan Brandes said in a statement August 11. “We’re working through those issues and preparing for a busy peak season ahead.”