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Value of ag exports at Virginia port reached record level last year


The value of agricultural exports at the Port of Virginia reached an all-time high of $2.61 billion in 2012, shattering the previous record of $2.35 billion set in 2011 by almost 12 percent, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced last last week.

The port's agricultural exports, which also include forestry products, have grown in value by about 17 percent since 2010.

"With the trade offices we've established in key global regions and new ones we'll open this year, as well as the trade missions we will conduct later this year, I expect to see Virginia agricultural exports continue to grow," said McDonnell in a prepared statement. "Our recently passed transportation bill will also help ensure that Virginia continues to have the modern and well-funded road and rail network necessary to get our goods from producers in the commonwealth to tables all across the world in the decades ahead."

The top exported products in 2012 included soybeans, soybean meal, lumber, wheat, corn, barley, pork, animal feed, processed foods and beverages, wood pellets, cotton, seafood and raw peanuts. The top three export markets were the same as in 2011: China, Canada and Morocco.

The export commodity that registered the largest percentage growth in value was wood pellets, which soared more than 800 percent from $4 million in 2011 to about $35 million in 2012, largely because of new sales to the European Union. The export value of soybeans more than doubled from $327 million to $734 million.

Located in Norfolk, the port is served by CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, Bay Coast Railroad Inc. and Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad Co.

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