Report: Port Helps Drive Economic Investment and Job Creation Throughout the Commonwealth

More than 430,000 jobs and $27B in compensation attributable to port activity

NORFOLK, VA –The Port of Virginia® continues to be an expanding economic force in the Commonwealth’s economy, says a recent study conducted by The College of William & Mary that analyzes the overall value of the port to the Virginia economy during fiscal year 2021 (FY21).

“The Port of Virginia is growing and delivering significant, positive results for the Virginia economy,” said Stephen A. Edwards, the CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA). “The goal is to continue to drive economic growth for decades to come. The cargo goes to well-run, modern, efficient ports and as this port grows, so do its benefits to all Virginians.”

The results of the study were released this week by the VPA, the state agency that owns and operates six general cargo terminals: four deep-water terminals in the Norfolk Harbor and two inland facilities located in Richmond and Front Royal. In 2020, the port contracted with the college’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business to measure the combined economic benefit of the port to Virginia’s economy during the 12 months from July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021 and compare the findings with the port’s economic impact in FY18.

The port posted its most productive fiscal-year performance in FY21: in that 12-month period (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021) the port processed more than 3.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units. The business activity generated by the movement and handling of that cargo combined with the port’s

overall productivity was a significant contributor to the Virginia economy. In FY21 the economic activity tied to the flow of cargo across the port’s terminals led to (vs. FY18):

• 437,000 full-time jobs, an increase of 10%

• $100 billion in spending, an increase of 9%

• $47 billion in Virginia gross state product, an increase of 21%

• $27 billion in labor income, an increase of 18%

• $2.7 billion in state and local taxes and fees, an increase of 29%

The port contributes to Virginia’s economy in three ways: the movement/transport of export and import cargo within Virginia; the export of Virginia-made goods; and the added processing and distribution of imports retained in the Commonwealth.

“We have the foundation to steadily grow the flow of cargo through this port for decades to come, but we must continue to expand to stay ahead of our peers and meet the needs of our port users and the supply-chain businesses we are attracting to Virginia,” Edwards said. “Our dredging effort continues and we are well on our way to becoming the deepest port on the US East Coast by 2024. Later this month we’ll begin an expansion of the rail yard at NIT [Norfolk International Terminals] and in March we will add two more ship-to-shore cranes there. Further, we are at the beginning of the effort of optimizing and expanding the North Berth at NIT.”

These projects, combined with initiatives at the port’s other terminals, are necessary to keep The Port of Virginia growing and competitive. More importantly he said, the investments will help drive ongoing economic investment and job creation across Virginia.

The study’s authors are K. Scott Swan, a professor of international business, innovation and marketing at W&M’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business and Mangum Economics, a Virginia-based firm that specializes in producing objective and actionable quantitative economic research.