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[Editor's note: This article was updated March 27 at 9:09 a.m. CT to correct the destination of the first critical supply shipment.]
The Port of Virginia yesterday instituted a critical cargo initiative to identify and prioritize import cargo moving across Virginia that is critical to fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
The initiative allocates the equipment and port personnel necessary to ensure containers containing personal protective equipment for the medical industry and COVID-19 test kits are processed and moved to the container’s destination rapidly, port officials said in a press release.
The initiative calls for repositioning critical containers in stacks to enable urgent pick up; working with ocean carriers to identify critical cargo; and working with motor carriers to secure truck reservations.
The port will prioritize critical import shipments at Norfolk International Terminals and Virginia International Gateway.
The program's success will require the ocean carrier, the International Longshoremen’s Association labor union and the port’s operations team to collaborate on identifying the cargo and its location on the ship well before its arrival, said John Reinhart, Virginia Port Authority chief executive officer and executive director.
Earlier this week, the port began handling its first import containers of critical supplies. Within two hours of the first container being offloaded, the truck carrying the container left the terminal for its Indianapolis destination.
CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway serve the port via on-dock intermodal container transfer facilities. Class I service is augmented by short lines, including the Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad Co. and the Commonwealth Railway.