Statement on Port of Richmond
Mayor Dwight Jones and Port of Virginia CEO John Reinhart today announced that the Port of Virginia has requested to renew its lease on the Port of Richmond for a second five year term. In addition, the Port of Virginia intends to bid on a long-term lease proposal that will allow it to make greater capital investment in the Port of Richmond terminal. The Mayor will introduce the related papers on Monday, July 27 for consideration by City Council on September 8.
The announcement comes one day after Governor McAuliffe announced the Port of Virginia is forecasted to post its first yearly operating profit since 2008 and has set a new record for cargo volume.
“The City’s partnership with the Port of Virginia has turned the Port of Richmond around, and it holds promise for unlocking the value of one of the greatest economic drivers for the Richmond region,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “We are excited by the possibility of a long-term partnership with The Port of Virginia, and the prospect for integrating Richmond and Central Virginia into networks of global trade. We are eager to review the long-term lease proposal.”
Under The Port of Virginia’s management, cargo volumes at the Port of Richmond have grown year over year. In fiscal year 2013, the barge service transported over 6,400 containers. In fiscal year 2014, the barge volumes increased 49% with over 9,500 containers transported. Barge volumes increased another 49% and finished fiscal year 2015 with over 14,000 containers transported. Due to the consistent increase in volumes, the barge service increased from two trips a week to three trips a week in January of 2015 and is currently averaging approximately 200 moves per week. This steady increase in volumes is due in large part to direct marketing efforts of The Port of Virginia which have resulted in five international ocean carriers offering bills of lading directly to the Port of Richmond. The Port of Virginia has also made significant on terminal investment to include improvements to the rail infrastructure and the purchase of a new mobile harbor crane scheduled for delivery in early 2017.
“The Port of Richmond has become a critical part of The Port of Virginia network,” said CEO John Reinhart. Cargo moving up and down the James River provides a direct connection with shippers in Central Virginia and means less truck traffic on our roadways. We want to solidify the future of Port of Richmond so we can continue to make on-terminal investments that will attract additional shippers and strengthen our network. Our port is growing and facilities like the Port of Richmond are crucial to provide the necessary access to deliver the goods coming through the port to manufacturers and consumers throughout our market.”
The Port of Richmond is not only a valuable asset to the City of Richmond, but also an economic driver for the entire region. Strategically positioned to capitalize on intermodal freight activity by virtue of its location on the James River, it also possesses close proximity to the major transportation corridors of I-95, I-64, I-85, and direct access to rail with CSX.
“The Port is a great asset for the entire region,” said Chesterfield Country Administrator Jay Stegmaier. “We’re confident the Port of Richmond will play an increasingly important role in attracting jobs and new investment to Central Virginia.”
Chesterfield County Bermuda District representative Dorothy Jaeckle noted, “Improvements at the port will also add significantly to the revitalization of the Route 1 corridor in both Richmond and Chesterfield."
The lease and management of the Port of Richmond was assumed in July 2011 by The Port of Virginia from the City of Richmond, with the option to renew the lease for three successive five-year terms. During this partnership, The Port of Virginia began operating a barge service carrying containerized cargo between the marine terminals in Hampton Roads and the Port of Richmond. Growth of the barge service is critical as it removes container traffic from the local roadways, significantly reduces undesirable emissions, and provides for the consistent and effective movement of freight to bolster economic development in the City of Richmond and beyond.