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The Port of Virginia on Monday marked the arrival of the COSCO Development container ship, the largest vessel to call the U.S. East Coast.The vessel, which can carry 13,092 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), arrived via the recently expanded Panama Canal. "For years, we have been talking about the 'next generation' of vessels and the 'big-ship era.' This is what we have been preparing for ... the big ships are here," said John Reinhart, port authority executive director, in a press release.During the ship's 30-hour stay at port, workers loaded and unloaded almost 2,000 containers. For comparison, most vessels remain at the port for 12 to 14 hours.Virginia was the COSCO Development's first East Coast stop, Reinhart said.The port is pursuing $670 million worth of investments to increase annual throughput capacity by 40 percent, or 1 million containers, by 2020.In summer 2016, the MOL Benefactor ship sailed to the Norfolk International Terminals and set the previous record for the largest ship to call the Port of Virginia. The COSCO Development surpasses that record by 3,000 TEUs.Meanwhile, the Port of Virginia presented Fornazor International Inc. with the 2017 shipper of the year award.An exporter of agricultural commodities, the company directs the majority of its exports to the port. Fornazor has been been moving products through the port for nearly 30 years. The company also is preparing to open a new transload facility in the Kansas City area that will push even more cargo to the Port of Virginia via rail. "Fornazor is always looking for innovative opportunities to grow business at the Port of Virginia and collaborate operationally," Reinhart said. "Their work and innovation equates to growth and the port is one of the beneficiaries."
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