State eyes APMT

Published 8:34 pm Saturday, August 30, 2014

APM Terminals has announced the sale of APM Terminals Virginia, its marine cargo facility in Portsmouth near the border with Suffolk, to a partnership between Alinda Capital Partners and Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited.

“All regulatory requirements and other conditions of their transaction have been satisfied,” APM stated on its website.

The facility transferred to the new owners on Aug. 22, and the company will be renamed Virginia International Gateway.

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Observers are now waiting to see whether ownership of the facility will transfer to the state, following reports that Aubrey Layne and Maurice King, the state secretaries of transportation and commerce and trade, respectively, are working to negotiate a new lease agreement with Alinda that could see that happen.

In April, the administration of Gov. Terry McAuliffe signaled it was looking at the state’s lease with APM, a subsidiary of Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk.

Losses by the Port of Virginia of $120 million in five years, discovered by analysts under Layne after the figure was put at $85.8 million by port authority CEO John Reinhart in his State of the Ports 2014 address, apparently prompted the move.

Signed in 2010, the 20-year lease is projected to cost the state more than $1 billion all up, according to reports.

Losses at the port continue, despite month-on-month increases in cargo throughput. Earlier in August, the authority announced a $17.1-million loss for the fiscal year, better than the $23.4 million that had been projected in January.

McAuliffe’s scrutiny of the port upon taking office also brought to light the fact that APM had offered to sell its state-of-the-art facility to the state under the McDonnell administration.

McAuliffe’s administration concluded the offer wasn’t attractive enough and declined it.

A spokeswoman with the Virginia Department of Transportation, under which the port operates, overseen by the Virginia Port Authority and with day-to-day operations handled by Virginia International Terminals, said she was unable to provide more details on the reported upcoming meeting between state officials and APM Terminals Virginia’s new owners. Layne was traveling and couldn’t respond, she added.