Virginia Port Authority  Holds Public Hearing to Receive Feedback on Port to Operations Proposals

Virginia Port Authority Holds Public Hearing to Receive Feedback on Port to Operations Proposals
Virginia Port Authority Holds Public Hearing to Receive Feedback on Port to Operations Proposals
Tagged in: Advocacy
Virginia Port Authority  Holds Public Hearing to Receive Feedback on Port to Operations Proposals

A hearing was held by the Virginia Port Authority Board on Thursday, October 4th in Norfolk to seek public input to the proposals for operating the Port of Virginia.

Nearly 350 attended the hearing and 36 speakers provided comment following brief presentations by APM Terminals, Inc., and Virginia International Terminals.  Ryan Pedraza, Project Manager from the Virginia Office of Transportation, Public-Private partnerships, also discussed the evaluation process.

Virginia Port Authority Board Chair Mike Quillen opened the hearing by indicating that the board has not taken a position and will not do so until an independent review occurs.  He also reiterated that no sale was being considered, that public input was critical to the process and that the PPTA proposals recommend switching from the current operator to V.P.A becoming a landlord tenant as utilized by other global ports.

The future evaluation process will require that detailed plans be submitted by November 1st with evaluation presentations by November 22.

Eric Sisco, President of APM Terminals Americas Region, gave a presentation on his firm’s interest in operating the Commonwealth’s ports.  Mr. Sisco indicated that APM was the second largest port operator in the world with over 60 ocean terminals.

He discussed the firm’s history in the region starting in 1975 as a tenant in Portsmouth and their vision to develop the most technologically advanced terminal in the world.  The APM project cost $540 million to build and it was recognized for its environmental stewardship.

Mr. Sisco said that APM could be a force multiplier for the Port with $300 million to invest in modernization and expansion of N.I.T.  The overall value of the APM proposal is $3.1 to $3.9 billion.  One of the key components of the proposal is the transfer of ownership of the APM Terminal in Portsmouth to the Commonwealth.  Mr. Sisco concluded by referencing the value added development in the region that would occur with the development of the port.

Mr. Joseph Ruddy, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Virginia International Terminals spoke on behalf of the current operator.

Highlights of Mr. Ruddy’s presentation are as follows:

  • V.I.T. – quality of customer service
  • Safety of work environment (referenced #2 insurance ranking (signal mutual) world-wide)
  • Container growth from 141,890 in 1983 to 1,130,999 in 2012
  • Recent container growth at 12%
  • Innovation including:  Inland port, cranes, chassis pool and best practices
  • Port of Virginia ranked #2 intermodel market
  • Support 343,000 Virginia jobs
  • V.I.T. serves Virginia and only Virginia

Mr. Bob Aston, Chairman and CEO of TowneBank made remarks on behalf of V.I.T.  Points made by Mr. Aston include:

  • Should we give up control of this great asset?
  • Can we truly align the interest of the Commonwealth and a private company?
  • Is the current down market the best time to sell?
  • How will the funds be invested?
  • There is currently a $93.3 million cash flow that should be considered
  • Is anyone really able to draft a 48-year agreement? (gave example of changes in banking over this period of time)
  • Quoted Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway:  “It is impossible to unsign a contract.”

Joe Dorto, President and CEO of Virginia International Terminals spoke as a private citizen.  Highlights from Mr. Dorto’s comments:

  • Served under 9 Governors
  • V.I.T.’s charge is to bring business to the Port of Virginia
  • Since created in 1983, tremendous economic engine for State
  • Represented the many employees of V.I.T – thanked past and present for excellent job

Additional speakers represented shipping lines, custom houses, the International Longshoreman Association and many other business “stakeholders” in the port.  Many were opposed to privatization and others supported the current operator, V.I.T.

Comments may be made at the following web address:
pptacomments@portofvirginia.com

For further information contact:

Ira Agricola
Senior Vice President
Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce
757-470-6361
iagricola@hrccva.com

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