Port posts less loss than expected

Published 9:49 pm Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Port of Virginia’s operating loss of $17.1 million for the full fiscal year is a significant reduction on the $23.4-million loss projected in January, according to the port authority.

The improvement on the earlier projection came after the port’s consolidated revenue increased to $396.8 million, up 12.6 percent on the prior year.

Though the operating loss in fiscal 2013 was smaller — $15.5 million — the fourth quarter loss of $655,684 for 2014 is the smallest operating loss in a quarter for the last seven quarters, the authority reported in a news release.

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Through January 2014, the port was operating at a loss of $71,437 per day, which has been reduced significantly to $7,205 per day in the fourth quarter.

Financial losses mounted even as the port set a record in terms of TEU (20-foot equivalent container) volume, and the port set out “an aggressive plan of action to stabilize operations, stem the operating losses and implement process improvements.”

“We have made significant progress in the last six months establishing the new organizational structure, making changes on the ground in terminal operations, establishing metrics to measure performance, implementing a new terminal operating system at NIT (Norfolk International Terminals) and making strategic capital investments to deliver improved results,” John F. Reinhart, authority chief executive officer and executive director stated in the news release.

“Those changes are reflected in the improved results for the fourth quarter. We are only part way to our goals and changes will continue. While each of these changes individually is significant the full results will show only when they are all in place operating collectively.”

But it’s a process, Reinhart continued, and “there remains a lot of work ahead of us.”