Virginia port lays off 20 percent of its work force

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Virginia International Terminals Inc., the operator of the state’s four cargo ports, is laying off 90 workers, or 20 percent of its work force, effective immediately.

VIT made the announcement following meetings this morning between Joseph A. Dorto, VIT’s CEO and general manager, and the port’s employees. Dorto told workers the layoffs are necessary due to a 25 percent drop in cargo volume and revenue for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

“This is the most difficult day in my 40-year career,” he said in a statement. For more than a year, Dorto said VIT has taken cost-cutting steps to avoid job losses.  “Unfortunately, the sustained recession in global markets has overtaken VIT, and we are no longer able to financially support our current operating model.”  Furthermore, he added, some experts predict that the shipping industry at large is two years away from recovery.

This is the first major layoff initiated by VIT, a nonprofit operating alliance of the Virginia Port Authority, in its 27-year history. Before today’s announcement, VIT employed 452 people at its marine cargo terminals in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News and the Virginia Inland Port, an intermodal facility in Front Royal.


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