The Virginia Port Authority (VPA) is a Commonwealth of Virginia agency under the State's Secretary of Transportation. The VPA owns four general cargo terminals, including the Port of Norfolk International Terminals, and is responsible for operating and marketing marine terminal facilities.
The VPA is responsible for stimulating commerce in the ports of the Commonwealth in an environmentally responsible way and to provide customers with products and services that meet or exceed their expectations by continuously improving the ports, including the Port of Norfolk.
In 2008, the Port of Virginia handled 51.3 million tons of cargo, including 16.2 million tons of general cargo, 15.9 million tons of containerized cargo in 1.2 million TEUs, and 311 thousand tons of breakbulk cargo. Cargoes included 38.1 million tons of exports and 13.2 million tons of imports. The Port of Virginia served 2926 vessel calls.
The Port of Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) is located on over 262 hectares in the heart of Hampton Roads. The largest of the Port of Virginia's terminals, NIT contains 14 of the world's biggest, most efficient cranes. The main channel leading to the Port of Norfolk International Terminals is currently being deepened from 15.2 to 16.8 meters. With five berths totaling over 1.7 kilometers in length, three finger piers, a roll-on/roll-off berth, the Port of Norfolk International Terminals offers covered and container storage and 27.2 kilometers of direct rail access. The Port of Norfolk International Terminals is capable of handling all types of cargo. It offers storage space for 34.2 thousand TEUs and 21.7 total hectares of covered pier and dry and cold storage space.
In the 1980s, the Port of Norfolk International Terminals won the business of Evergreen and of Nissan Motor Company. To meet the companies' needs, the VPA added a new berth, deepened the channels, added a three thousand square meter warehouse and a paved container storage area, and added new high-speed gantry cranes.
The VPA continued to expand the Port of Norfolk International Terminals facilities through the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2008, three new large container cranes were delivered to the terminal.
The Port of Norfolk's Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center was named after the 1673 fort built on the same site. The state-of-the-art facility is much more than a cruise terminal and meeting facility. It contains one of the United States' biggest privately-owned ocean liner collections. It also houses 400-year-old artifacts from the Jamestown settlement. Located in the downtown Port of Norfolk, the Center was ranked the best port in the United States and the second best, after Venice, in the world by Royal Caribbean International in 2009 based on customer satisfaction. The Port of Norfolk hopes to make the Half Moone center the most passenger-friendly terminal in the world. Since it opened in 2007, the center has served over 230 thousand passengers.