Profitable fiscal year for port

Published 9:42 pm Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Port of Virginia’s preliminary reports for fiscal 2015 indicate it will post its first annual operating profit since 2008, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Wednesday.

The port is forecast to return a profit of $16.1 million, which is a $31.5-million improvement in operating income from the prior fiscal year.

In producing the better result, the port eclipsed last year’s cargo-handling pace by 8.9 percent, moving more than 2.5 million 20-foot equivalent containers (TEUs) in the 12 months to June 30.

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“When I took office, I knew that growing and diversifying Virginia’s economy would require making the Port of Virginia the profitable gateway to the world that it can be,” McAuliffe stated in a news release.

“I am proud of the work my administration, port officials and so many others have done to achieve this remarkable turnaround, and I look forward to the central role this enormous asset will play as we work together to build a new Virginia economy.”

The focus will now be on continuing the change to make Virginia’s the leading port of the East Coast, state Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne commented, adding, “We are already off to a great start.”

The fiscal year closed with a strong June, in which the port handled 213,517 TEUs, up 14.5 percent compared to June 2014.

“Multiple factors are behind these figures, namely hard work, across the board, by the port team, our labor partners, industry partners and stakeholders; the success of this port is a collaborative effort,” stated John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority.

“We’re seeing improvements gained from our ongoing effort to improve operational efficiency, and our strategic investments in equipment, in technology and in people are paying off. There is still much to do, and we are going to forge ahead with our plan to reinvest in infrastructure in order to compete now and in the future.”

The governor’s office listed the following port-related accomplishments in fiscal 2015:

4The re-opening of Portsmouth Marine Terminal;

4The addition of 1,000 chassis;

4The purchase of nearly 100 vehicles used in the movement of cargo;

4Implementation of new terminal operations software;

4A cost-sharing agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate the benefits of two dredging projects: the deepening of the Norfolk Harbor and Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River;

4Receipt of a $15 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant to create a new intermodal gate complex at Norfolk International Terminals;

4A bond sale to reduce debt costs, earning Aa3 and A+ bond ratings from Moody’s and S&P, respectively;

4And the passage of a $489.7-million budget that includes $135 million allocated for capital expenditures to alleviate congestion and position the port for future growth.