Thursday, July 26, 2012
Virginia ports experience slow recovery
Although business is rebounding at Virginia ports, the recovery has not yet reached pre-recession levels, according to a report released by the Virginia Port Authority. The study takes on more significance as the VPA considers privatizing the operations of several of its ports.
The port saw the number of containers increase 2 percent to more than 1.1 million TEUs in 2011. So far in 2012, container volume has increased by more than 5 percent, according to port officials. After dropping 17 percent in 2009, business has rebounded, but is still below the more than 1.2 million TEUs that went through the port in 2007.
Gov. Bob McConnell, frustrated that as the third largest port complex on the East Coast, Virginia was not recovering as fast as New York or Savannah, replaced 10 of Virginia's 11 port commissioners in 2011 in a move meant to encourage growth.
The port also is the only one on the East Coast that currently has inbound and outbound deep-water channels to attract post-Panamax ships to Virginia. Port officials think the Port of Virginia is poised to increase cargo with the expansion of Craney Island, which would almost double the Port of Virginia's marine terminal capacity.
"That's where we by far are in the best position of any port on the East Coast," said Rodney Oliver, the port authority's deputy executive director and CFO.
Earlier this month, Virginia extended the deadline for privatization proposals until Aug. 13. The state will accepted or reject proposals by Aug. 31.
For more of the Virginia-Pilot story: hamptonroads.com
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