Virginia Port Authority to lease APM Terminals

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The Virginia Port Authority and APM Terminals have reached an agreement that will allow the VPA to lease APM Terminals’ technologically advanced terminal in Portsmouth for 20 years.

Under the deal, VPA would pay APM $40 million a year plus incentives when cargo is more than 500,000 containers per year.

The agreement must still be approved by the VPA Board of Commissioners and the APM headquarters in The Hague.

Gov. Bob McDonnell outlined the proposal during the Virignia Maritime Association’s annual banquet Thursday night in Norfolk.

Discussions between VPA and APM have been ongoing for 18 months. APM opened its $504 million, highly automated and environmentally sensitive terminal in 2007. Soon thereafter, the economy plummeted and the company was unable to snag customers from the Port of Virginia.

Operating the terminal will give the port an additional capacity of 1 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) each year. APM Terminals in Portsmouth is the third-largest container terminal in the U.S.

The decision will likely affect private bids for operating rights of the VPA. Three private companies submitted bids last year to run the ports’ terminals for 20 years. Since the bids were submitted, however, no action has been taken.

Gov. Bob McDonnell has asked Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton to study whether to scrap the bids entirely, appoint an independent review panel to study them, or to ask the companies to amend their bids. 

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