Industries Ports/Trade

Port of Virginia signs new long-term lease of Portsmouth terminal

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The Port of Virginia announced Wednesday it has an almost 50-year lease of the Virginia International Gateway (VIG) marine terminal in Portsmouth.

The lease, which takes effect Nov. 1, and lasts until 2065, will give the port oversight of the terminal and its operations.

Plans also include a $320 million investment to double the capacity of the highly automated terminal. The expansion will create longer berth, an expanded rail operation, larger container yard and four new cranes.

Construction on the project is scheduled to begin this year and is expected to take three years.

“This sends a very clear message – world-wide — that The Port of Virginia is investing for the long-term and we will be able to service the vessels of any ocean carrier here at what will be one of the most modern and efficient container terminals in North America for decades to come,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement.

The lease was signed between the port and Virginia International Gateway Inc., which is owned by Alinda Capital Partners and Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

APM Terminals built the Portsmouth terminal in 2007 but failed to attract enough cargo to remain sustainable. In 2010, the Port of Virginia signed a 20-year lease of the terminal.

APM sold the terminal in 2014 to VIG, and the port has been in negotiations since then to extend lease of the facility.

The deal means the port will be handling the expansion of its two largest terminals at one time.  Construction also is set to begin this year on the expansion of Norfolk International Terminals,  a $350 million project that will allow the port’s biggest terminal to increase its capacity by 46 percent.

“We believe that the continued investment in people, technology and those capacity projects being undertaken here during the next three-to-four years are positioning The Port of Virginia to become the US East Coast’s premiere port: a true gateway to world trade and a catalyst for commerce in Virginia,” John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the VPA, said in a statement. “We are seeing vessels in the 10,000-plus TEU range, we are processing more rail cargo than ever and the demand for our services is growing. We have momentum and our timing coincides well with the changes in the industry.”

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