Investing in success. Norfolk International Terminals Update Q4 2020

Norfolk International Terminals Project is Complete

The Port of Virginia project team delivered the project on-time and on budget, while the terminal remained fully operational. The Port of Virginia has completed the three-phase, $450M renovation of Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) southern berth - $350M provided by the General Assembly. This project transformed the oldest and largest terminal of the port into one of the most state-of-the-art terminals on Earth. Utilizing the same footprint, 60 new semi-automated stacking cranes have added 46% capacity, while also making the terminal safer, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly. Combined, the Norfolk International Terminals optimization project and Virginia International Gateway’s expansion project have added 1 million annual container capacity.

While the new ship-to-shore cranes are being checked and made operational, containers block off the area on the south berth where they're located. The cranes are set to be ready for service in January.
The Port of Virginia has completed the three-phase, $450M renovation of Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) southern berth.

Largest Ship to Shore Cranes in the Western Hemisphere

The Port of Virginia welcomed two new STS cranes in November. These cranes are the capstone of the $800M on-terminal investments we’ve made at both NIT and across the river in Portsmouth at Virginia International Gateway. Each crane is 170 feet tall from berth to lowered boom, and can service the largest vessels calling on the East Coast - reaching 26 containers across. We’ve modernized our terminals from the gate to the berth and created a twenty-first century, world class port.

Two More Cranes on the Way

In 2022, the port will add two additional STS cranes at NIT utilizing Volkswagen grant monies that were announced by Governor Northam on July 10. Norfolk International Terminals will have a total of four new ship-to-shore cranes that can service the largest vessels that call the East Coast today and in the future.

What’s Next for NIT

In October, Senator Warner and Senator Kaine announced that The Port of Virginia was awarded a grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration to help fund the construction of a new rail bundle at Norfolk International Terminals. Utilizing MARAD and Rail Enhancement Funds provided by Virginia’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation, the rail bundle will expand rail capacity and increase on terminal fluidity. The project will provide our customers quicker speed to markets and aligns with the port’s efforts to grow rail volume.

NIT Project Timeline


  • January: Container stack construction begins. Demolition of the old container stack area gets underway with construction following closely behind
  • March: The PRO-PASS® reservation system for motor carriers goes live at NIT. PRO-PASS® allows the port to better control the flow of trucks into its terminals


  • February: Phase I construction is complete and 12 new container stacks, serviced by 24 new rail-mounted gantry cranes (RMGs), go into service. 12 of 30 container stacks complete
  • March: Ten new shuttle trucks are put into service. A shuttle truck is a small, highly-mobile piece of cargo moving equipment used to move containers between the ship berth to the container stack
  • May: Phase III construction begins
  • June: First RMGs for phase II arrive
  • August – September: Phase II is complete and six new container stacks are placed in service. 18 of 30 stacks are complete
  • September: Phase II is complete


  • January: First group of six RMGs arrive for phase III
  • February – May: Phase III is complete and six new container stacks are placed in service. 24 stacks of 30 container stacks are online
  • April: 25 new shuttle trucks arrived at NIT
  • May: 12 of the 25 new shuttle trucks are in service. Last delivery of six RMGs for phase IV
  • June - August: Phase IV is complete. All 30 container stacks are complete. All new shuttle trucks are placed in service.
  • November: Two new ship-to-shore (STS) cranes arrive at NIT. A STS crane is the biggest crane on the terminal and is used to move containers on-and-off the ship


  • January: Two new STS cranes in service. NIT now has a total of 16 STS cranes and the South NIT optimization is complete.

The Port of Virginia delivers opportunity by driving business to, and through, the Commonwealth.

In 2019, CNBC ranked Virginia as the #1 state for business, and The Port of Virginia plays a key role in Virginia’s ability to serve those businesses. In a larger sense, The Port of Virginia is doing everything necessary to become the U.S. East Coast’s leading gateway for global trade for decades to come, and to make Virginia the #1 place for businesses in the country.