Stories to Watch in 2021: Bigger and Better at the Port of Virginia

by Leona Baker

A series of ongoing improvements to the Port of Virginia is designed to position the maritime gateway built around the world’s largest natural deep-water harbor as a major player in the industry and on the world stage. These include an $800 million expansion of its terminals, which was capped off by the recent arrival of two massive container cranes, the largest of their kind in the United States, at Norfolk International Terminals.

At the end of 2019, work began on a $78.8 million effort to deepen and widen Thimble Shoal Channel, the primary shipping channel in and out of the port. Contracted to New Jersey-based Weeks Marine, the project will increase the channel’s depth from 50 to 56 feet and widen it from 1,000 to 1,400 feet. Expected to extend into late 2022, it is part of a broader dredging plan aimed at making Norfolk the deepest port on the East Coast by 2024.

Finally, in October 2020, it was announced that Stephen Edwards, a Los Angeles-based CEO with more than two decades of experience in the maritime industry, would replace retiring Virginia Port Authority CEO and Executive Director John Reinhart, who oversaw the bulk of these improvements. Edwards begins his tenure on January 19, 2021.

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