The takeover of operations is scheduled for July 1; VPA will retain Port Contractors Inc. as the terminal operating company in Richmond and pay the city US $75,000 per year. The agreement is for five years at US$75,000 annually with a renewal option at the end of the lease term.
The VPA’s terminals in Hampton Roads are currently linked to the Port of Richmond by a barge service that moves about 200 containers per week. Port authority officials believe that the weekly barge service can be expanded to twice weekly, possibly starting in mid-August.
“An expanded barge service has drawn interest from customers that move overweight cargo or cargo that is not time-sensitive,” said J.J. Keever, VPA’s senior deputy executive director. “Bringing the Port of Richmond aboard gives us the opportunity to try some innovative things with the barge service that we think will attract interest from shippers and private investment that seek to capitalise on the Port of Richmond given its proximity to I-95 and its water link to Hampton Roads.”
According to American Shipper VPA approached the city of Richmond about taking over its struggling port about a year ago. The original offer was for US$1 per year, in addition to assuming all the risk for building business, investing in infrastructure and employing technology to improve efficiency.
Last year, VPA signed a 20-year concession to operate the new container terminal in Portsmouth owned by APM Terminals. VPA also operates a rail-truck intermodal facility in Front Royal, about 200 miles from the port. Having direct operational control of all the terminals instead of co-existing with independent terminal operators allows the port to better manage its assets and coordinate cargo handling for vessels, said port officials.