Exports moving across Port of Virginia facilities in September helped drive a high amount of cargo through port terminals, but officials concede truck wait times could be shorter.

Newly released figures show September was the third consecutive month total 20-foot equivalent unit container volume exceeded 200,000 units. The ports handled 201,113 TEUs, an increase of 8.6% from a year earlier while exports grew by 12%.

The extended/weekend truck gates offered to better manage peak-season volume and the timing of volume incentives in current contracts reduced per-box revenue and had an effect on the month’s operating income, said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority.

“The heavy volumes and profitability continue, but our delivery of service to the motor carriers is not acceptable,” he said. “We are pushing our capacity limits at both Virginia International Gateway and Norfolk International Terminals. We’re already working vessels at Portsmouth Marine Terminal and that move is designed to provide a measure of relief to VIG and NIT, but our truck gates and service time remain an immediate area of focus.”

In September, truck volume increased by 21.9%. The ports moved 76,782 containers by truck in September, which is 13,359 more than what was handled last September. “As a result, we’re experiencing congestion at our truck gates and increased turn-times and this is putting a service burden on our motor carriers,” Reinhart said.

The VPA owns and operates four general cargo facilities Norfolk International Terminals, Portsmouth Marine Terminal, Newport News Marine Terminal and the Virginia Inland Port. In addition, the VPA leases Virginia International Gateway and the Port of Richmond.