New study updates the economic value of the Port of Virginia

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Paula C. Squires

A new economic impact study says the Port of Virginia’s three general cargo terminals generated more than $41 billion in total revenues and 343,000 jobs in fiscal 2006. That’s more than twice the number of jobs and nearly 50 times the revenue than what was previously attributed to the port from an earlier study in 1999.

“We knew the figures were outdated. This is a much more accurate assessment of the industry’s value to the state,” said Joe Harris, the port’s media relations manager. 

According to the new data, the port employs 9 percent of the state’s resident work force, and pays employee compensation of $13.5 billion, or 7.4 percent of the total compensation paid to private sector, state and local government employees in Virginia. 

The new figures released today come from a study done by the Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary. They’re a dramatic update to the 8-year-old figures which calculated the port’s worth and correlating maritime industry as being responsible for 165,000 jobs, $762 million in business revenues and $61 million in state and local taxes.

The William & Mary research team headed by Dr. Roy L. Pearson used an assessment model that measured the port’s direct impact, indirect impact and induced impact (earnings created by the direct and indirect impacts that are spent by households, businesses and state and local governments) as well as an interactive model that uses government data about commodities and market transactions. 

“This report measures the value of the work done here in a single year, but we didn’t get to that year overnight,” said Jerry Bridges, the VPA’s executive director. Still ahead is a lot of work, he added, including the Craney Island Marine Terminal project, which is expected to drive the numbers higher following its completion over the next decade.


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