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admin | Category: Modular Container Homes | 25.03.2015
International ports have been located in Virginia since the first English colonists arrived in 1607. The deep channels of multiple rivers, and the colonial government's generous grants of land, shaped the development of Virginia east of the Fall Line. The impact of physical geography on cultural geography was clearly recognized by English officials, who desired concentrated development to facilitate military defense and collection of taxes. For the great Number of Rivers, and the Thinness of the Inhabitants, distract and disperse a Trade.
It was not until after 1700, with the extension of European settlement beyond the fall line and development first of Norfolk and later of other port towns and cities, that trade began to concentrate and significant proportions of the population lived out of direct contact with the maritime world. Norfolk was Virginia's leading port at the time of the American Revolution, but in the 1820's Richmond surpassed Norfolk. Between the Civil War and World War I, however, ocean-going ships grew larger and required deeper channels.
Additional dredging to 25' during the Depression in the 1930's was too little, too late to save the port of Richmond.
Through the Virginia Port Authority, a state agency, the Commonwealth of Virginia owns *and* operates three terminals in Hampton Roads - Newport News Marine Terminal (NNMT), Norfolk International Terminal (NIT), and Portsmouth Marine Terminal (PMT).
In 2010 the Virginia Port Authority also leased the privately-owned Virginia International Gateway (VIG), built in 2007 as the A.P. By leasing the Virginia International Gateway (VIG) facility until the year 2030, the state gained an efficient terminal without having to borrow money for the initial capital investment, while the private company gained a steady stream of guaranteed income. After the Virginia Port Authority shifted its business to the new Virginia International Gateway (VIG) terminal, the Portsmouth Marine Terminal (PMT) was left dormant, except for areas leased to a company exporting wood pellets and to the contractors building a new Downtown Tunnel between Portsmouth-Norfolk. To increase future capacity after the Panama Canal is expanded, there are also plans for constructing the $2+ billion Craney Island Marine Terminal (CIMT) by 2030 to double the Port of Virginia capacity to five million TEUs per year.
In 2012 the Corps of Engineers re-analyzed the project, assuming use of the large Suez-class cranes that can stretch across ships loaded 22 containers-wide and stacked six containers high on deck. However, the Port of Virginia lost money for five years in a row starting in 2008 and the state would need to borrow funds to construct the new Craney Island Marine Terminal (CIMT).
The Virginia Port Authority also began negotiating with the private owners of the Virginia International Gateway (VIG) to identify a formula for using public funds to expand that terminal as well. There are private shipping terminals in Hampton Roads, in addition to the Virginia Port Authority facilities. KinderMorgan, the "largest independent terminal operator in North America," owns the Elizabeth River Terminal (ERT) on the South Branch of the Elizabeth River, upstream (south) of the Portsmouth Marine Terminal. A 2006 economic analysis of the four terminals managed by the Virginia Port Authority documented that 88% of imports arrived in containers, and 12% was roll-on roll-off (RoRo), breakbulk, or bulk cargo. Deepwater Terminal at the Port of Richmond is nearly 100 miles upstream (by water) from Norfolk.
In 2015, the City of Richmond committed to a 40-year lease of its port to the Virginia Port Authority. With local, state and Federal grants, the Port of Richmond implemented the "64 Express" in 2008 to carry containers between Richmond and Hampton Roads by barge. The 64 Express enabled the Virginia Port Authority to convince Mediterranean Shipping to offer regular service to Richmond. The model for Richmond was Virginia Port Authority's "inland port" in Warren County near Front Royal, next to the Norfolk Southern rail line and two interstate highways (I-66 and I-81) in the Shenandoah Valley.
This seems like an unlikely spot for the Virginia Port Authority to have built a cargo terminal. The Virginia Inland Port is one of the first intermodal transfer facilities in the United States based on international trade, with containers shipped by rail based on their steamship bill of lading or equivalent - just like a marine container terminal.
At the inland port, containers are transferred from rail cars onto the chassis of 18-wheeler trucks for final short-haul delivery (typically to destinations within 50-100 miles). The Virginia Inland Port (VIP) was created in 1989, initially as a competitive effort by Virginia to divert trade away from the port at Baltimore. VIP was not a congestion relief effort, an economic development initiative, or an effort to increase the terminal capacity at Norfolk. Virginia could have established the inland port closer to the I-95 corridor, and steered traffic to the Newport News Marine Terminal (NNMT) via its servicing railroad (CSX). It is not clear how much business shifted from Maryland to Virginia, but the Virginia Inland Port succeeded in attracting sufficient traffic (especially poultry exports) to become the first successful inland port in the United States. The Virginia Inland Port started as a less-congested "satellite marine terminal," using a rail shuttle to bring containers 200 miles closer to customers in Northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.


North Carolina pioneered the concept of an inland port serving as a strategic rail hub, creating the first one in 1984.
In 2014 Norfolk Southern built a new intermodal terminal at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, which required building railroad track underneath a runway.
It shall be the duty of the Authority, on behalf of the Commonwealth, to foster and stimulate the commerce of the ports of the Commonwealth, to promote the shipment of goods and cargoes through the ports, to seek to secure necessary improvements of navigable tidal waters within the Commonwealth, and in general to perform any act or function which may be useful in developing, improving, or increasing the commerce, both foreign and domestic, of the ports of the Commonwealth.
In 2012, Governor McDonnell obtained General Assembly endorsement of new incentive programs to spur economic development related to the Port of Virginia.
State investment in the Port of Virginia is part of an overall plan to stimulate economic activity across the state, not just in the Hampton Roads area, by emphasizing Virginia's advantages for "global logistics." Virginia is centrally located on the East Coast within a day's drive of 40% of the US population, and 55% of the population lives within 750 miles. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, a state agency, has focused on creating distribution centers to warehouse and transport products moving through the Port of Virginia. We believe our port can serve as a bulwark against job loss in the state's rural areas, as well as those areas that have a large military population, which is traditionally transient and constantly shifting its force size.
Warehousing and distribution is a "clean" industry because there are no effluent, smokestacks, or dangerous byproducts of operation. Most distribution centers are located along all major highways, including sites with no rail access.
Thanks to port and rail connections, new distribution centers are concentrated in Hampton Roads, Richmond, and the northern Shenandoah Valley.
In 2012, Amazon opened distribution centers in Chesterfield and Dinwiddie counties, with promises to hire over 1,300 people. The Roanoke intermodal facility was expected to facilitate transfer of containerized cargo from Norfolk Southern railroad to trucks travelling I-81 south into Tennessee and I-77 into West Virginia and North Carolina.
The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation committed to paying 70% of the terminal's cost in 2008, if the Norfolk Southern railroad diverts 150,000 containers annually from congested highways (especially I-81). State officials anticipated that an intermodal terminal would generate local jobs by attracting warehousing and distribution centers, manufacturers and logistics and transportation-related companies. The Roanoke Intermodal terminal at Elliston is part of the much-larger Heartland Corridor project. The Commonwealth of Virginia has also helped to finance the Norfolk Southern's rival railroad, CSX.
Virginia's major ports are in competition with New York to Houston - and San Diego to Vancouver on the West Coast. The military presence in Hampton Roads helps spur Federal funding for deepening the shipping channels and improving the local transportation network. The Norfolk Naval Shipyard, where some Navy vessels are maintained and repaired, is on the South Branch of the Elizabeth River, where the Gosport Shipyard was first started in 1767.
When shipyard workers added armor plating to cover the wooden deck of the old USS Merrimack, they also increased the weight of the CSS Virginia so it would ride low in the water and protect the unarmored hull. After World War I, the coal-carrying USS Jupiter was converted into the USS Langley, the first US aircraft carrier, at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. After the last conventionally-fueled carrier was retired, the Pentagon considered transferring one aircraft carrier from Norfolk to the retired carrier's homeport, Naval Station Mayport (near Jacksonville, Florida). When the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was constructed across the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in 1994, Virginia adopted a design that accommodated the Navy.
A potential long-term advantage for Virginia to retain its current naval facilities is that the US military's primary center for logistics education is located now at Fort Lee (near Petersburg), after a Base Realignment and Closure Commission decision to move the headquarters of the U.S. To support the US Navy and civilian traffic, the US Army Corps of Engineers now maintains a shipping channel from the Atlantic Ocean to terminals in Hampton Roads, and up the James River to Richmond.
Hampton Roads offers several ports with excellent rail and road connections to inland customers.
A 1,500 feet wide and 50-foot deep channel is maintained to Norfolk International Terminal (NIT). Since 1957, mud, sand, rocks, shells, and other material scraped up from the bottom ("dredge spoils") has been deposited into one of three cells at the Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area.
The Norfolk International Terminal has a 50-foot outbound channel now (authorized but not funded for dredging to 55 feet), and has loaded container vessels drawing 49 feet.
Savannah has received Federal approval to deepen the channel from 42 to 47 feet, with 60% funded by the Federal government and 40% by the Georgia Port Authority.
Despite a 1994 state law prohibiting Virginia state agencies from hiring lobbyists, in 2013 it was revealed that the Virginia Port Authority was paying for such services. Successful labor relations are essential to maintaining business activity at Virginia's ports.


The major container carriers, terminal operators and port associations for Gulf Coast and East Coast ports have organized as the United States Maritime Alliance. In 2002, West Coast ports were closed for 10 days while the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (the West Coast equivalents of the United States Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Association) negotiated a new master agreement. In Virginia, the General Assembly prohibits state agencies from negotiating with unions, so privately-owned service contractor companies operate the publicly-owned ports. In 2013, after 13 months, the United States Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Association agreed to another "master agreement" for East Coast and Gulf Coast ports.
State government control of the ports in Hampton Roads and Warren County is exercised through the Virginia Port Authority. VIT, a non-stock, non-profit corporation chartered by the state of Virginia and controlled by the public Virginia Port Authority, is theoretically not a state agency - and thus able to engage in union contract negotiations.
In a clear demonstration of that the governor of the state has final authority, Governor McDonnell fired 10 of the 12 members on the Virginia Port Authority board in 2011. After conducting a competitive process through the Public-Private Transportation Act process, other organizations (including VIT itself) considered submitting a bid to operate the ports.
The privatization debate revealed that some state officials thought the ports were financially unstable, even operating at a loss.
There was less public discussion over the potential that privatization would provide several billion dollars of immediate funding, which the governor could then steer - with the support of the General Assembly - to implement his transportation agenda or other priorities. In the end, the Virginia Port Authority board decided to maintain state ownership, but consolidate many operations of the authority and its operating arm, Virginia International Terminals (VIT), in order to streamline operations and reduce overhead costs. In 2014, one reason for Virginia's ability to attract more containers was revealed, after a new governor replaced five members on the board of the Virginia Port Authority. Incentives for shippers were increased so much that the state's terminals at Norfolk and Portsmouth lost money when they transferred containers to rail cars, paying overtime for the labor to handle the operations.
The Virginia Port Authority has developed plans to expand the APM terminal, anticipating sufficient container traffic growth at Hampton Roads to justify adding the capacity to process an additional 1 million TEU's annually to the current 3.5 million TEU capacity. If the Virginia Port Authority transfers its shipping contracts to Craney Island, the owners of the APM terminal could inherit an enlarged facility in 2030 - but then struggle to compete with the state to get contracts to fully utilize the terminal. The new owners may attempt to sell the terminal to the Port of Virginia before the lease expires, or resume ownership in 2028.
The Virginia Port Authority has an alternative strategy to maintaining its lease until 2028: abandon the APM terminal, and default on the 20-year lease.
Since you became a longshoremen, you’ve watched the rise of the container as the primary mode of shipping.
When I first started working all the cargo was handled by hand, piece by piece, and there was very little use of mechanical equipment. In the old days, a full gang of better than 20 men making 25 tons an hour was good tonnage.
Customs-designated port of entry that is over 200 miles closer to the industrial Midwest, and on a highway corridor to the Northeast that is less clogged than Interstate 95.
The railroad would like to carry containers all the way to the customer's warehouses, rather than split business with a trucking company.
VIP may have eventually filled some of these functions, but VIP was begun as an effort by the Port of Norfolk to expand its market reach in competition with Baltimore. Jobs are year-round, and range from forklift drivers on the floor to inventory, logistics, and supply chain managers who coordinate truck arrival and disbursement. The port authority is positioned to generate a net profit during the next five years, particularly given the projected growth in cargo volume during that period.
The Port boasts the single best infrastructure on the East Coast with a 50-foot ice free channel, no overhead obstructions, on-dock rail service (two Class 1 railroads) and easy access to ocean lanes. Quillen, the CEO and chairman of coal operator Alpha Natural Resources, a major McDonnell donor.
Home to the largest, most efficient cranes in the world, the Port of Virginia is the only marine terminal capable of handling the ships of tomorrow. The Port links directly to 80+ foreign ports and reaches 200+ countries, boasting 22-day transit to Asia.



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