Port’s economic impact studied

Published 8:37 pm Monday, December 29, 2014

A College of William and Mary study spotlighting the economic impact of The Port of Virginia has found $60.3 billion in spending around the commonwealth in fiscal 2013 directly or indirectly attributable to the port.

The 36-page study by the college’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business, which the Virginia Port Authority contracted in the fall and released to the public Monday, found the port contributes to Virginia’s economy in three ways.

Those three ways include the transportation of export and import cargo within Virginia and across the commonwealth from other states and countries; the export of goods made in Virginia; and the added processing and distribution of imports retained in the commonwealth.

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“It is clear The Port of Virginia is having positive effects on spending, employee compensation, employment and taxes,” stated John F. Reinhart, the authority’s chief executive officer and executive director.

“As the port grows, so do its benefits to the businesses and taxpayers of Virginia.”

William and Mary also did the port’s previous economic impact study, which examined fiscal year 2006.

Comparing the two fiscal years reveals some sizeable improvements: port-attributable spending across Virginia is up 47 percent, employee compensation is up 30 percent, selected Virginia taxes are up 17 percent and port-related employment is up 9 percent.

Reinhart says the findings “further underscore why a healthy port is critical to so many sectors of the economy as we go forward.”

Other highlights of the study include:

  • Port-related jobs — direct, indirect or induced (those resulting from personal spending by port employees and contractors and from the taxes they pay) — made up 9.4 percent of the Virginia workforce, with $17.5 billion paid to 374,646 employees residing in Virginia.
  • The port moved nearly 18 million tons of cargo worth $53.2 billion.
  • Made-in-Virginia cargo totaled 4.5 million tons worth $10.9 billion.
  • The port’s contribution to the state’s gross state product was $30.5 billion, which is equal to 6.8 percent of the estimated $448.8 billion in GSP in fiscal 2013.

Led by professors Roy L. Pearson and K. Scott Swan, a team of researchers spent three months compiling the report, according to the authority.