The Port of Virginia is ending one of the best years it has ever had in 2015 and they’re ready to make sure the next one is even better. When the Virginia State General Assembly reconvenes, the port will lobby for $350 million in upgrades. The upgrades will ensure the terminal can handle the enormous cargo ships coming from the expanded Panama Canal.
$350 million is the largest single request ever made by the port and will be part of a grand infrastructure funding plan by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. “You can’t say you want to be the No. 1 port on the East Coast or the nation and not invest in it,” said Virginia DOT Secretary Aubrey Layne.
“The money would go toward upgrades like new cranes at the Norfolk International Terminals, allowing it to handle about 400,000 additional containers every year,” said Joe Harris, spokesperson. The post-Panama expansion has all east coast ports spending heavily to prepare for the massive ships and increase in cargo. Without a solid expansion, the Port of Virginia stands to lose 4.5 million TEU’s by 2040 to other, more competitive ports.
“If I’m sitting across the table from a group of legislators and they’re quizzing me about how prudent it is to spend money on the port, I have got to be able to say we will handle it efficiently, effectively and profitably,” Chairman John Milliken said. As 2015 was the first solidly profitable year since 2007, with a net profit of $13.6 million, this appears to be the best time to heavily invest.