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Rail News: Intermodal

Chrysler business might restart marine terminal, Virginia port says

The Port of Virginia last week announced that a portion of the Portsmouth Marine Terminal (PMT) — which has been closed since the winter of 2011 — will serve as a temporary staging area for Chrysler vehicles exported to China.

On March 30, a Norfolk Southern Railway automotive train arrived at the railroad's Carolina Yard in Chesapeake, Va., carrying 700 Chrysler sport utility vehicles manufactured near Toledo, Ohio. The vehicles then were transported from the yard to PMT.

The Norfolk port collaborated with NS, Pasha Automotive Group, Chrysler Group L.L.C. and Siem Car Carriers to prompt a short-term, six-month memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Pasha and Virginia International Terminals L.L.C regarding the shipments and staging. The MOU could be the basis for a longer-term agreement if trial shipments prove successful, said John Reinhart, the Virginia Port Authority's executive director and chief executive officer, in a press release.

"This is a good first step of providing a 'proof of concept' to bring business back to PMT," he said.

Two to three additional vehicle trains are anticipated in the near future. On or about April 25, a Siem vessel is scheduled to call on PMT and an estimated 2,500 Chrysler vehicles will be loaded, port officials said.

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