Richmond Express Starts Operation at RMT

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 4, 2017

  • Barge Photo Virginia Port Authority
  • Photo Virginia Port Authority
  • Barge Photo Virginia Port Authority Barge Photo Virginia Port Authority
  • Photo Virginia Port Authority Photo Virginia Port Authority

The Port of Virginia’s new barge – the Richmond Express arrived in the Norfolk Harbor and scheduled to sail Sunday and be at Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT) Monday, Feb. 6.

This new barge helps reduce congestion on I-64 and wear-and-tear on the road by taking trucks off of that roadway and moving the cargo by barge. Thus far into fiscal year 2017 (began July 1, 2016), 11,225 containers have moved between Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT) and the Norfolk Harbor by barge, a 41 percent increase when compared with the same period in fiscal year 2016. This equates to 22,450 fewer round-trip, truck trips on regional roads/highways/intestates. Further, the configuration of the new barge gives the port flexibility to move refrigerated containers, which is important to owners of cold cargo.

Name: Richmond Express
Capacity: 125 FEU (40-foot equivalent unit)
Size: 309’ X 54.5’
Origin: Jefferson, IN
Tug/barge power: Norfolk Tug
Frequency: Three sailings a week to / from RMT and the Norfolk Harbor Transit time: 12 hours, sails at night

Barge Facts:
• The Richmond Express made its first appearance at a Port of Virginia Terminal on Thursday, Feb. 2, at Portsmouth Marine Terminal.
• While there the barge underwent some test loading and the containers from the old barge were transferred over to the new unit.
• The barge being replaced is same size/capacity, but its configuration is a challenge to efficient loading and unloading – containers are too close together. The new barge is wider and longer and allows for more space in between the containers.
• The barge arrived at Norfolk Tug last week, for final detail work – installation of locking pins, etc.
• The unit was built in Indiana, moved down the Mississippi to New Orleans, around the Florida Keys and
up the US East Coast to Virginia.
• The Richmond Express has the capability to handle refrigerated containers (“reefer units”) with generators (“gen-sets”) to keep them cool. The earlier barge did not allow for this as the configuration was too tight to allow for the gen-set mounts.
• The port will install a “power-pack” in late 2017 or early 2018 to handle reefers units by “plug” vs. individual gen-set units. The purchase of the power pack was made possible by a $476,000 grant from the Maritime Administration (MARAD) via its Marine Highway Program.
• The port has the capacity to add more sailings as dictated by need.
• Thus far into fiscal year 2017 (began July 1, 2016) 11,225 containers have moved between RMT and the Norfolk Harbor by barge, a 41 percent increase when compared with the same period in FY16.
• This would equate to 22,450 fewer round-trip, truck trips on regional roads/highways/intestates.
• The port leases the barge from a subsidiary of Norfolk Tug and is also the barge operator.

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