Automobiles, building materials, coffee beans and most of the things people use every day will need to continue moving as long as they are in demand — and our port's job is to ensure the supply can meet the demand. To accommodate that demand, we must first plan for a sustainable future with healthy responsible growth. That's where the 2065 Master Plan becomes vital.
"The Master Plan represents our commitment to Virginia taxpayers and other stakeholders to plan responsibly and budget accordingly," says Anja Sparenberg, director of management reporting for The Port of Virginia. "In the 2065 Master Plan, we chart growth opportunities and how they relate to capital investment projects, such as expansion at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) and a long-term lease at Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT)."
It is with the support of the Governor, General Assembly, the Transportation Secretary and the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners, the port entered an era of continued and sustainable growth in fiscal year 2016.
In June, the port will complete construction on the North Gate at NIT. The 26-lane gate will more than double the terminal's gate capacity and link with the I-564 Connector, a road project designed to give motor carriers faster access to market and cut emissions by reducing idle time in traffic.
On July 1, 2017, construction will begin at the south end of NIT — the port's oldest and largest facility. With the help of a $350 million investment from the Commonwealth, the port will renovate and reconfigure the area to move cargo more swiftly, safely, and sustainably than ever before. When complete in 2020, the project will increase the terminal's annual capacity by 400,000 containers — or 46 percent — without adding an inch of real estate.
The state's investment at NIT enabled the port to negotiate a new historic, longterm lease of its Virginia International Gateway (VIG) terminal in Portsmouth that gives the port oversight and operating rights at the facility until 2065.
As part of a $320 million project, the port is developing 60 unused acres inside VIG's 231-acre footprint to add 26 automated stacking cranes and expand the container yard. To accommodate the largest container vessels working in the Atlantic, the pier will be lengthened, four ship-to-shore cranes added and the rail operation expanded. The project will maximize industry-leading technology and double VIG's annual capacity to 1.2 million containers.
In fiscal year 2016, we executed a 40-year lease with the City of Richmond for the operating rights at RMT. A federal grant also allowed us to purchase a new mobile harbor crane for use at RMT, replacing an older, less efficient piece of equipment.
With each new investment from the state or federal government, we work toward a more sustainable operating future. Ultimately, these investments in our network of terminals enable our port to meet the needs of the millions of Americans we serve daily across the Commonwealth and beyond. It is long range, responsible planning for expansion projects like the ones at VIG and NIT that open the door to even more cargo and sustainable growth.