Retailers: More strong performance for Virginia ports

Big increases in imports over the first half of the year at Virginia's ports will continue according to a report from Hackett Associates and the National Retail Federation.

The Virginia Port Authority has already said that between January and August the ports have handled 633,000 twenty-foot containers, a 7.9 percent increase over the same period a year ago. The year-over-year increases have been more impressive in recent months, and the growth has outpaced rival East Coast ports.

"Year-on-year gains are forecast in each of the (next) six months, with double-digit percentage increases projected in four," according to the report, called Global Port Tracker.

That prediction is better than the predictions for imports at the ports of New York/New Jersey, Savannah and Charleston.

The report states Savannah will post year-over-year gains for all six months, with double digit gains in two of those periods.

NY/NJ, it predicts, will post gains for half of the next six months, when compared to a year ago.

Charleston, it predicts, will make post gains over last year for the rest of the year.

This latest in a string of statistics indicating a positive trajectory for Virginia's ports comes as the port is under considerable scrutiny from state officials.

Gov. Bob McDonnell has criticized the current nonprofit operator as inefficient, and officials from his administration have spent recent months analyzing bids from private groups to buy the rights to run the ports. 

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