Virginia Port Authority

Virginia Port Authority

The Virginia Port Authority (VPA) is an autonomous agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia that owns the Port of Virginia. The Port of Virginia comprises three marine terminals and one intermodal container transfer facility: Norfolk International Terminals, Portsmouth Marine Terminal, Newport News Marine Terminal, and the Virginia Inland Port. Virginia International Terminals, Inc. (VIT), the Virginia Port Authority’s non-stock, non-profit affiliate, is responsible for operating the Port of Virginia.

The Virginia Port Authority’s headquarters is located in the World Trade Center in Norfolk, Virginia. The agency also employs regional managers throughout the United States and in Belgium, Brazil, Japan, Hong Kong, India, and South Korea.


As an agency of the Commonwealth, the Virginia Port Authority reports to the Virginia Secretary of Transportation. The Governor of Virginia appoints 11 citizens to form the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners; the state treasurer is an ex-officio member of the Board. Commissioners serve staggered five year terms at the pleasure of the Governor, and no commissioner may serve more than two consecutive terms. Law dictates that there must be one, but no more than one, commissioner from Norfolk or Virginia Beach; one, but no more than one, commissioner from Portsmouth or Chesapeake; and one, but no more than one, commissioner from Hampton or Newport News. [ Code of Virginia 1950 §62.1-129] . Retrieved 30 July 2008.] Traditionally, an active or retired senior executive from Norfolk Southern Railway and an individual with ties to the coal industry have served as members of the Board. [“Virginia Port Authority Board Structure.” Feb 2002.] The Board elects a chairman and vice chairman from within its membership.

The Board of Commissioners appoints the executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, who is responsible for overseeing the daily execution of the agency’s policies, and serving as an ex-officio member of VIT’s Board of Directors.

Current Board of Commissioners

John G. Milliken (Chairman)
Robert C. Barclay, IV (Vice Chairman)
J. Braxton Powell (State Treasurer)
Martin J. “Marty” Barrington
Stephen M. Cumbie
Joe B. Fleming
Mark B. Goodwin
Allen R. Jones, Jr.
Michael Jack Quillen
Ranjit K. Sen
Deborah K. Stearns
Thomas M. Wolf [ [ Virginia Port Authority Staff] . Retrieved 30 July 2008.]

Executive Directors

Jerry A. Bridges (February 5, 2007–Present) [ J. Robert Bray Completes His Career at the Virginia Port Authority on July 1] . Retrieved 30 July 2008.]
J. Robert “Bobby” Bray (1978–February 5, 2007)
The Honorable Ephraim P. Holmes (1971-1978) [ [ Ephraim P. Holmes] . Retrieved 30 July 2008.]

Economic status

The Virginia Port Authority is exempt from state and federal taxes, but as a result receives no money from the state’s general fund. Port operations are paid for using revenue generated by port activities, predominantly trade. Additional revenue is invested in maintaining and improving the facilities and in marketing the port to potential clients.

History Anchor|History

The Virginia Port Authority had its roots in the Virginia State Ports Authority (VSPA), an agency of the Commonwealth created in 1952 that was responsible for operating the port terminals in the Hampton Roads harbor. Studies commissioned by the Virginia General Assembly during the 1970s and the early 1980s suggested that the port terminals should be consolidated under a single port authority that would manage the activities of the terminals while remaining under the authority of the General Assembly. Legislation changed the name of the Virginia State Ports Authority to the Virginia Port Authority to reflect the goal of integrating the ports. Virginia Senate Bill 548 mandated that the Virginia Port Authority complete the unification as swiftly as possible. In addition, the General Assembly revised the VPA’s enabling legislation to allow the agency to subordinate local port cities, towns, and other entities; to acquire federal, state, and local property; and to provide for a tariff.

The VPA purchased the terminals piecemeal. Portsmouth Marine Terminal became the first port to enter the unification program; the City of Portsmouth conveyed the port to the VPA in 1971. Later that same year, Newport News Marine Terminal (NNMT) was transferred to the VPA with the consent of its owner Peninsula Ports Authority (PPAV), its operator Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, and the cities of Hampton and Newport News. The VPA acquired Norfolk International Terminals from the City of Norfolk in 1972.

In order to manage the consolidated marine terminal operations, Virginia International Terminals, Inc. was created in 1982. VIT not only systematized operations at the VPA’s facilities, but also moved cargo more efficiently and strengthened the port’s marketing program.

Two pieces of legislation in the 1980s aided the development of The Port of Virginia. The first, the Transportation Trust Fund, became the source for the Commonwealth Port Fund. The Commonwealth Port Fund was created by the General Assembly from a portion of the revenue generated by transportation taxes and fees, and was transferred to the Board of Commissioners of the VPA to satisfy port capital needs within Virginia.

The second piece of legislation was the Water Resources Act of 1986, a federal cost-sharing initiative that provided for the dredging of all major U.S. river channels and waterways. The Hampton Roads harbor became the first to begin dredging under the new legislation, with the aim of deepening the outbound navigational channel from 45 to convert|50|ft|m. The project was completed in 1988 with the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In 1989, the VPA opened the Virginia Inland Port, a $10 million intermodal facility in Front Royal, Virginia. The combination truck-and-rail terminal sits near the intersection of U.S. Interstate 81 and U.S. Interstate 66 and extends the VPA’s activities to Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.The Virginia Port Authority. “A History of Port Development, Port Growth, and Port Investment.” 1995.]

Norfolk International Terminals

Norfolk International Terminals is the largest of the four facilities, with a land area of convert|648|acre|km2. The terminal has fifty-foot-deep entrance channels at the north and south ends. The terminal is serviced by convert|89300|ft|m of rail track and 11 Suez-class container cranes. A marginal wharf measuring convert|5730|ft|m long provides five berths for vessels carrying containerized, breakbulk, and roll-on/roll-off cargoes. NIT provides 34,219 TEUs of container storage space; convert|2340000|sqft|m2 total of covered pier, dry, and cold storage space; and space for 702 stacked truck chassis. NIT is accessible via Interstates 64, Insterstate 564, and Terminal Boulevard, and via rail serviced by Norfolk Southern Railway, CSX Corporation, and Eastern Shore Railroad. [The Virginia Port Authority. “Norfolk International Terminals Cranes and Specifications.” 2007.]

NIT was originally a surplus Army base that the City of Norfolk purchased in 1965. The city outfitted the base with a container crane and put a one-berth container facility in service in addition to the breakbulk capacity already available. A second container berth and two more container cranes were added in the early 1970s.

The Virginia Port Authority used a $12 million appropriation from the General Assembly to acquire NIT on July 1, 1972. Slightly more than half the money went to pay obligations to the city and terminal; the remainder was dedicated to purchasing a fourth container crane, extending the container berth, and improving support structures.

During the 1980s, NIT attracted the business of Nissan Motor Company and Evergreen. To meet increasing demand, the VPA dredged deeper channels, added a fourth berth, built a convert|32000|sqft|m2|sing=on warehouse, purchased three high-speed gantry cranes, and paved another container storage area.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the VPA continued to expand the facilities, replace old cranes, and add new ones, until it reached its present capacity. On July 16, 2008, the three newest, and largest, cranes were delivered to the terminal.

Portsmouth Marine Terminal

Portsmouth Marine Terminal is the second largest of the four facilities, with a land area of convert|219|acre|km2. The terminal has a forty-five-foot-deep main channel. The terminal is serviced by convert|20100|ft|m of rail track, six container cranes, and one gantry crane. A marginal wharf measuring convert|3540|ft|m long provides three berths for vessels carrying containerized, breakbulk, and roll-on/roll-off cargoes. PMT provides 33,786 TEUs of container storage space; convert|94471|sqft|m2 of dry storage space; and space for 260 reefer receptacles. PMT is accessible via U.S. Route 58, which is connected to Interstates 95, 64, and 664; and via rail serviced by Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX Corporation. [The Virginia Port Authority. “Portsmouth Marine Terminal Cranes and Specifications.” 2007.]

Most of PMT was built upon reclaimed land containing dredged material from the construction of the Midtown Tunnel. The terminal began, in part, as a port owned by a railroad that served Pinner’s Point. The Virginia State Ports Authority purchased the facility, but in 1965 leased a portion of it to the City of Portsmouth. Funds from the General Assembly and the city paid for a temporary pier.

By 1971, PMT had developed into a conventional two-berth general cargo marine terminal. In that year, the VPA bought Portsmouth’s interest in the facility for approximately $7,418,000.

In 1975, an agreement between the VPA and Portsmouth allowed Sea-Land Service, Inc. to construct a terminal on the property of PMT; the new facility used about one-third of the available space. Sea-Land built a convert|600|ft|m|sing=on marginal wharf, a paved backup storage area, an office building, a warehouse with 26 loading bays, and a maintenance garage. Sea-Land also purchased a container crane. Sea-Land developed the terminal under a 30-year lease that stipulated that at the end of the lease the land and facility would revert to the VPA.

During the early 1990s PMT received another high-speed container crane and a dock extension that joined the existing convert|600|ft|m|sing=on marginal wharf at the Sea-Land facility with the marginal wharf at the VPA’s facility.

Newport News Marine Terminal

Newport News Marine Terminal is the smallest of the four facilities, with a land area of convert|140.64|acre|km2. The terminal has a forty-five-foot-deep main channel. The terminal is serviced by convert|42720|ft|m of rail track and four container cranes. Two berths handle cruise vessels and breakbulk cargo. The facility is also capable of handling containerized and roll-on/roll-off cargo. NNMT provides storage space for 790 containers and 1,210 chassis. NNMT also offers convert|394000|sqft|m2 of covered storage space; convert|256000|sqft|m2 of dry storage space; and 43 acres of open yard storage space. NNMT is accessible via Interstate 64, Interstate 664, and U.S. Route 17. Breakbulk rail service is provided by CSX Corporation. Containerized cargo is drayed to and from NIT when Norfolk Southern rail service is necessary. [The Virginia Port Authority. “Newport News Marine Terminal Cranes and Specifications.” 2007.]

Prior to the beginning of port unification in 1971, the Peninsula Ports Authority of Virginia (PPAV) owned the terminal and Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (now CSX) operated it. In the late 1960s, Pier B entered service and construction of Pier C began. When, in 1971, the PPAV and Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad conveyed their rights to NNMT to the VPA, Pier C had not yet been completed. One of the requirements of the contract stipulated that the VPA had to obtain state funding to finish the project. In 1972, the General Assembly appropriated the necessary funds.

Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad remained the operator of NNMT until 1982, when the VPA Board of Commissioners authorized VIT to take over the operations. In 1983, the VPA purchased 22 acres of land adjacent to NNMT from CSX, then leased the land back to the railroad company for two years while they built a repair along its tracks.

In the 1990s, NNMT received a $10 million entrance complex, an interchange, scales, an administration building, 27 acres of paved cargo space, and an extension to Pier C. In 1994, the Nissan Import Auto Operations facility, previously located at NIT, was relocated to a newly developed 25 acre space at NNMT.

Virginia Inland Port

The Virginia Inland Port, located in Front Royal, Virginia, is the second smallest of the four facilities, with a land area of convert|161|acre|km2. The terminal is serviced by convert|17820|ft|m of rail track that runs adjacent to Norfolk Southern Railway’s main rail line. VIP is accessible via Interstates 66 and 81.

The $10 million dollar intermodal facility opened in 1989, extending The Port of Virginia’s operations convert|220|mi|km inland. VIP provides access to markets in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. The terminal offers a three-door cross dock facility for transferring cargo, a maintenance building, a chassis pool, reefer gensets, and shore power. As a U.S. Customs-designated port of entry, VIP supplies a full range of customs functions. USDA and SGS inspections are also available as needed.

Port Police

The Virginia Port Authority maintains its own police force of fully certified and sworn law enforcement officers of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Police officers are responsible for physical security and law enforcement at the marine terminals and the intermodal facility.

ee also

* Port authority


External links

* [ Virginia Port Authority web site]
* [ Virginia International Terminals, Inc.]

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