Port will offer early retirement to some workers

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With container volume down at the Port of Virginia by 22 percent this year, the operator is offering early retirement to some workers. Port spokesman Joe Harris said Virginia International Terminals Inc. is offering a voluntary separation agreement to some of its 450 employees, although he could not disclose a number.

In another cost-cutting move, it’s freezing the pay for both management and hourly workers.  “Everything in on the table to be cut,” says Harris. The port already has reduced the number of worker shifts and idled equipment. “Anything to scale back, but no one has been laid off. That’s the goal,” says Harris.

In fiscal 2008, container volume was off by 2.1 percent,  compared to 2007, or by about 45,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units). Last year overall, volume stood at 2,083,278 TEUs.  Even with the big drop this year, “we’re doing better than a lot of other ports,” says Harris, as a slumping economy takes its toll on import and export business. 

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