Monday, June 17, 2024

Rail Roundup: Port of Virginia to invest $18M to upgrade facilities

Port of Virginia to invest more than $18M at Virginia Inland Port and Richmond Marine Terminal

The Port of Virginia is planning to invest more than $18 million to expand capacity at the Virginia Inland Port (VIP) near Front Royal and the Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT).

At VIP, the Port of Virginia has plans to expand and reconfigure the terminal’s rail operation and the container stack yard through building three new rail sidings and installing backbone infrastructure for technology, the port said Tuesday. As part of this project, VIP will be receiving four rubber-tire gantry cranes so that older equipment can be retired. The cranes will come from one of the container terminals at Norfolk and they will be repurposed at Front Royal. The target completion date is 2024.

VIP is located at the intersection of I-81 and Norfolk Southern’s Crescent Corridor, and the terminal there has daily, double-stack rail service to and from port terminals in Norfolk Harbor. 

“A reconfigured rail operation and container stacking area combined with new cargo conveyance equipment will give us room to grow and drive efficiency in the same space, but with a smaller carbon footprint,” Stephen Edwards, Virginia Port Authority CEO and executive director, said in a news release. “We’re laying the groundwork for greater use of technology so when the terminal warrants another upgrade, the infrastructure will be in place. VIP will be ready for the future and be a better terminal and neighbor.”

At RMT, the port is making improvements to the terminal’s main gate and developing a drop-lot for motor carriers. This will allow for faster processing of trucks leaving and entering the terminal. This project will cost $3 million and should be ready by early 2024.

Richmond Marine Terminal is on the James River, has direct access to I-95 and nearby access with I-64 and has thrice-weekly container-on-barge service to Norfolk Harbor. 

“We are investing in our inland capabilities now so we will be ready when our deeper and wider shipping channel opens in 2024,” Edwards said. “We’re also getting ready to begin renovating and modernizing the North Berth at Norfolk International Terminals, so the ability to receive cargo and then push it inland to VIP and RMT during construction is going to be key to maintaining our efficiency.”

Both projects are part of a larger, $1.4 billion gateway investment program that seeks to expand and modernize the port’s functions and long-term competitiveness, the port said.

Related links:

Port of Virginia eyes completion of channel deepening this year

Port of Virginia sees record volumes in 2022

CSX reaches sick leave agreement with SMART-TD B&O

Eastern U.S. railroad CSX (NASDAQ: CSX) has reached a tentative agreement for sick leave benefits with the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division B&O (SMART-TD B&O). The agreement is for CSX trainmen and conductors within that group.

The agreement calls for five days of paid sick leave annually plus the option to convert two days of personal leave to sick leave. 

“I want to thank the SMART-TD B&O leadership for working with us to reach this important agreement for their members and adding to the progress we’re making together to improve the work experience for front-line employees who create value for our customers,” CSX President and CEO Joe Hinrichs said in a Monday news release. 

“We are committed to listening to our employees and talking with union leaders about how we can solve issues and further improve relations,” Hinrichs said. “When we’re working together, we’re working better — for our customers and each other.”

Should this latest group ratify the agreement, the ranks of CSX operating employees with paid sick leave benefits will grow to more than 10,000, or 60% of CSX’s union-represented workforce, according to CSX. 

CSX also has sick leave agreements with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way; Brotherhood of Railway Carmen; International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; and National Conference of Firemen and Oilers.

Related links:

CSX reaches sick leave agreement

CSX reconfigures network operations and service design teams, adds to site selection program

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