Hapag-Lloyd has reworked its Mediterranean Gulf Coast Express (MGX) service, adding a US East Coast stop at the Port of Virginia. Cargo bound for the country’s West Coast moves from there by rail to California. The carrier and port are promoting the new stop more for its access to the west than its presence in the east, especially as congestion at West Coast ports looks set to increase again when lockdowns in China lift.
“This is an innovative decision by one of our long-time customers to take advantage of our efficiency and our rail reach into the Midwest,” said Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “It’s a unique service, but it is indicative of a very challenging trade environment. We welcomed the opportunity to be part of the solution for cargo owners on the West Coast.”
The weekly service began operating in mid-April with arrival of the Synergy Antwerp at Norfolk International Terminals. Nearly 1,000 of the vessel’s containers were moved via Norfolk Southern to Chicago where they were switched to another rail carrier that moved them to the ports of Los Angeles and Oakland.
By 2025, the port plans to invest $1.3bn to create more rail capacity, modernize two of its berths and convert them to an RMG operation (rail-mounted gantry), dredge its channels to 55 feet deep and widen them for two-way traffic of ultra-large container vessels