Maritime and Transportation


Moving Cargo is what we do here in the mid-Atlantic – By Sea, Rail, Highway & Now Outer Space!


Our Port is the Deepest and more! Over 95% of the world’s shipping lines call on the Port of Hampton Roads, linking Virginia to almost 400 ports in more than 100 countries worldwide. Hampton Roads is home to the 3rd largest port on the East Coast and the only port positioned for continuous expansion.

  • 50 ft. channels – the deepest on the U.S. East Coast
  • No obstructions between port and sea
  • The Port of Virginia is the only port on the U.S. East Coast that can handle the world’s largest container ship today!
  • Gold Seal of Approval - Maersk, the world’s largest shipline, privately funded the $500 million construction of a new 300-acre terminal in Portsmouth, VA.
  • The Heartland Corridor – This engineering wonder of the decade began service in the Summer of 2010. Efficient intermodal rail service between the Port of Virginia and the inland points in the Midwest such as Columbus, Ohio and Chicago.
  • First port on the US East Coast certified by ISO 14001
  • The Port of Virginia is home to the largest and fastest container cranes in the World.
  • Container traffic continues to trend upwards, handling 1,209,822 units in 2012, a 9.8% increase from 2011.

Future Benefits of Forthcoming Panama Canal Expansion

  • Currently, Panamax vessels (up to 4,500 TEUs) are the largest vessels that can transit the Panama Canal.
  • The Panama Canal Expansion Project is scheduled to be completed in 2014, allowing larger vessels (up to 12,000 TEUs) to transit.
  • The Port of Virginia is the only Port on the U.S. East Coast that can handle the new Post-Panamax vessels.
Norfolk Southern’s Heartland Corridor

Regional Shipbuilders & Technology

The Virginia Advanced Shipbuilding and Carrier Integration Center works with related industries and educational facilities to create technologies for aircraft carrier and advanced shipbuilding. In addition, many technologies are born here such as Bioelectrics which utilizes laser engineering in its study of aquatic microorganisms in ballast water.
Our Shipbuilders include:

  • Northrop Grumman
  • BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair
  • Colonna’s Shipyard
  • Earl Industries LLC
  • Marine Hydraulics International
  • Metro Machine Corporation
  • Lyon Shipyard Inc.

Intermodal Connections

Containers moving over The Port of Virginia in 2009 were transported to/from other markets using:

  • Barge 4%
  • Rail 30%
  • Truck 66% - over 150 local and national motor freight carriers


Virginia’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) Rail Division supports both passenger and freight rail in Virginia through funding and advocacy for rail improvements, industrial access and preservation projects. In 2005, the first source of dedicated funding for freight and passenger rail improvements in Virginia history was established through the Rail Enhancement Fund. This Fund is complementary to DRPT’s other rail funds: Rail Industrial Access and Rail Preservation. The Rail Division has four areas of activity: Passenger Rail Operations, Freight Rail Operations, Planning and Special Projects.


Trucks make more than 4,000 trips in and out of the Port’s three terminals every day. Norfolk has over 450 warehouse buildings totaling more than 17.5 million square feet and approximately 750 industrial buildings delivering over 23.7 million square feet of space. All of our warehouse and industrial spaces are in close proximity to the port. The region hosts one of the country’s largest geographic foreign trade zones (FTZs) with 15 sites and 3 subzones.

Top Trading Partners
Top Commodities
Import Export
China China
Germany Belgium
Brazil Germany
India Netherlands
Italy Japan
Netherlands United Kingdom
Belgium India
Spain Indonesia
Indonesia Taiwan
France Saudi Arabia
Source: PIERS, CY 2009- TEUs
Import Export
Furniture Paper & Paperboard
Non-Alcoholic Beverages Soybeans
Paper & Paperboard Logs & Lumber
Tobacco Wood Pulp
Auto Parts Grocery P roducts
Woodenware Scrap Metal
Toys Grains & Flour Products
Rubber Pet & Animal Feeds
Plastic Products Tobacco
Coffee Chemicals
Source: PIERS, CY 2009, General Cargo Short Tons

Norfolk Half Moone Cruise & Celebration Center
Carnival Cruise Lines will have seven cruise calls in 2011 utilizing a newer vessel and Bermuda itinerary. The passenger count for 2011 including day-long stopover calls is 40,000. The state-of-the-art facility was designed to be much more than just another terminal and boasts one of the nation's largest privately-owned ocean liner collections as well as 400-year-old artifacts from historic Jamestown.

Airports in the region serve 4.7 million passengers and 65 million pounds of cargo annually. Over 200 daily flights go through Norfolk International Airport (ORF) and Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (PHF).

Approximately 65 million pounds of air cargo are presently shipped in and out of Norfolk International Airport annually. Two ultramodern Air Cargo Terminals provide users with a total of 88,000 square feet of space. Cargo carriers include Federal Express, United Parcel Service, and Mountain Air Cargo

MARS: Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, in partnership with NASA, offers a "one stop shopping" place for low cost, safe, reliable, user friendly space launch facilities and services for commercial, government and scientific/academic users, both foreign and domestic.

MARS' mission is to develop and operate a multi user spaceport at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility which provides low cost, safe, reliable, "schedule friendly" space access to commercial, government, and academic users.

In partnership with:
  • Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority
  • NASA
  • Virginia Economic Development Partnership
  • Old Dominion University
  • Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology
  • Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Partnership
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport


Norfolk Investment Report 2014

[read more]




Norfolk Business Profile Data –
showcasing all the vital info.

[read more]