Port Helps Drive Expansion of Virginia Economy

November 20, 2019

Contact: Joseph D. Harris
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Port Helps Drive Expansion of Virginia Economy: Analysis Shows Jobs,
Spending, Labor Income, GSP All Increasing

University-Led Study Shows Multiple Benefits of Healthy, Expanding Port


Norfolk — The Port of Virginia® continues to be an expanding and significant economic force in the Commonwealth’s economy, says study conducted by The College of William & Mary that focuses on the overall value of the port to the Virginia economy during fiscal year 2018 (FY18).

The results of the study were released today at the Governor’s Transportation Conference by John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. In early 2019, the port contracted with the college’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business to measure the combined economic benefit of the port’s six terminals to Commonwealth’s economy during the 12 months from July 1, 2017 – June 20, 2018.

“We are building the foundation processes to create a steadily growing flow of cargo through this port for decades to come,” Reinhart said. “We are speaking with our customers and the cargo owners using this port to better understand what their needs are today and will be twenty years from now. This information helps us build our model for sustainability and better execute our core function of serving our customers. The positive result of our effort is being felt throughout Virginia in terms of job creation and economic investment.

“The Port of Virginia is growing and the investments we are making are yielding world-class results. We are having positive effects on the Virginia economy and the goal is to be able to drive economic growth for decades to come. The cargo will go where it is treated the best and as this port grows, so do its benefits to all Virginians.”

The port contributes to Virginia’s economy in three ways: the transportation of export and import cargo within Virginia and across it from other states and countries; the export of goods made in Virginia; and the added processing and distribution of imports retained in the Commonwealth. Driven by an increase in imports, the port completed fiscal year 2018 (FY18) having handled 2.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), which is a volume increase of 2.4 percent when compared with fiscal year 2017.

“[The] availability of a unique deep-water port . . . able to handle a variety of container exports through nearly 30 international shipping line services direct to more than 90 foreign ports, provides global market access for Virginia businesses. Bottom line: this expands the volume they can produce and sell profitably. The production of Virginia-made exports is a major economic contribution attributable to Port of Virginia operations,” the study’s executive summary said.

The last economic impact study, also conducted by William & Mary, assessed the port’s economic impact during FY13: the comparison of FY18 and FY13 showed:

“The findings of this work emphasize the importance of The Port of Virginia and further underscore why a healthy port is critical to so many sectors of the economy as we go forward,” Reinhart said. “The work is not done: we will continue to listen to the customers and cargo owners, continue to invest for the future and continue to work to get better. This is what a world-class port looks like.”

The study’s authors are Dr. Roy L. Pearson, a retired W&M research economist who specializes economic impact modeling and Dr. K. Scott Swan, an internationally recognized professor of international business, innovation and marketing at W&M.

The Virginia Port Authority (VPA) is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The VPA owns and through its private operating subsidiary, Virginia International Terminals, LLC, operates four general cargo facilities: Norfolk International Terminals, Portsmouth Marine Terminal, Newport News Marine Terminal and the Virginia Inland Port in Warren County. The VPA leases and operates Virginia International Gateway and Richmond Marine Terminal. A recent economic impact study from The College of William and Mary shows that The Port of Virginia helped create more than 397,000 jobs and generate more than $92 billion in total economic impact throughout the Commonwealth during fiscal
year 2018.