March 13, 2017 11:50 AM, EDT

Container Volume at Port of Virginia Falls by Fraction in February

Luke Sharett/Bloomberg News

Container volume last month at the Port of Virginia essentially was flat from February a year ago.

The port moved 220,376 containers, measured in standard 20-foot units, or TEUs.

That’s a drop of 0.2% from February 2016, which was the best February at the port since at least 2008.

TEU volume for the first eight months of the July-June fiscal year was up 6.9% from the same period a year earlier.

“February 2016 was 29 days long versus 28, so our cargo flows remain consistent with a good balance in our export-import trade,” John Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, said in a statement.

Loaded export units were up 4.6% from a year earlier, while 13.1% fewer empty units were shipped out of the port.

While loaded import units fell 3%, empty import units rose 91.3%.

Rail and truck containers were down slightly for the month, year-over-year — by 1.8% and 0.1%, respectively.

Breakbulk tonnage — containerized cargo packed in or on bales, drums or pallets — rose 1.9%.

Reinhart said the port was preparing for a period of significant activity as ships from new alliances of ocean carriers begin calling next month and two big expansion projects continue to take shape.

Engineering and survey work is under way at Virginia International Gateway in Portsmouth. Work at Norfolk International Terminals will start in the summer.