The Port of Virginia in April handled 179,370 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), up 6 percent compared with April 2012 volume.
Export container volume rose 6.1 percent to 96,261 TEUs and import container volume increased 5.3 percent to 83,109 TEUs.
The Norfolk port also registered double-digit rail volume growth for the sixth consecutive month. The average monthly increase in that period was 19.6 percent.
"Our rail containers in April were up 16.4 percent when compared with last April and on a year-to-date basis, rail is more than 14 percent ahead of where it was at this time last year," said Rodney Oliver, the Virginia Port Authority's interim executive director, in a press release. "Customers are taking advantage of our strong rail connections."
The total volume handled by the port in 2013's first four months represented the second-best start to a calendar year for TEUs in the port's history. Volume fell just 10,518 units short of 2008's record-setting mark of 697,562 TEUs, port officials said.
The port also announced that it set a U.S. East Coast record for handling a deep-draft container ship on May 11 when an export-laden ship set sail drafting 49 feet of water. The previous record of 48.5 feet was set on March 1, 2012.
"The ocean carriers are taking advantage of our 50-foot-deep channels," said Oliver. "That depth allows them to load heavy and begin to maximize the economics of operating their big ships."
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