Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2009

HJR 72: Joint Subcommittee Studying Public-Private Partnerships Related to Seaports in Virginia

November 20, 2009

The joint subcommittee studying public-private partnerships related to seaports in Virginia held its seventh meeting at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.


The Honorable Patrick O. Gottschalk, VA Secretary of Commerce and Trade
Secretary Gottschalk's presentation focused on the economic impact of the Port of Virginia (Port), its major competitors, and its strengths. He explained that the Port is a major economic engine for the state and a key factor in attracting business to Virginia and allows Virginia to be highly competitive in the global economy. For many companies, proximity to the Port has been an important contributing factor in the decision to locate or expand in Virginia. Regarding the economic impact of the Port, there are 343,000 port and port-related jobs statewide and $41.1 billion in business revenues. The Port generates $720.4 million in state and local tax revenue.

In terms of competition, Secretary Gottschalk explained that the Port competes primarily with the Ports of New York and New Jersey, Savannah, and Charleston. Smaller competitors include Baltimore, Wilmington, and Jacksonville.

Secretary Gottschalk next looked at the Port's strengths and stated that regardless of ownership structure, the following strengths must be preserved or enhanced:

  • Competitive rates.
  • Modern terminals.
  • An historically strong relationship with the International Longshoremen's Association.
  • An outstanding track record in safety and security.
  • The capacity to expand.
  • The excellent freight capacity.
  • The intermodal access.
  • The deepest commercial shipping channels on the East Coast.
  • No overhead obstructions.
  • Being home to the world's largest and fastest container cranes.
  • Being 18 miles from open ocean.

Joseph Dorto, President & CEO, Virginia International Terminals, Inc.
Mr. Dorto explained that the Heartland Corridor is expected to open in the second half of 2010 and the International Longshoremen's Association's contract was extended for another three years. In addition, negotiations with APM Terminals continue. All of these developments can only make the Port more attractive to companies.

Jerry Bridges, Executive Director, Virginia Port Authority
Mr. Bridges provided some brief remarks. Mr. Bridges stated that he is hearing from shippers that in the second half of 2010, the industry will be in full recovery, though volumes will not increase to the 2007 levels until 2011. Virginia is an attractive gateway.

Jo Anne Maxwell, Sr. Assistant Atty. Gen./Section Chief for Transportation, Office of the Attorney General
Ms. Maxwell answered questions about the Public-Private Partnership Act.

December 3, 2009

The joint subcommittee held its eighth and final meeting at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach. After an introduction by Chairman Purkey, Lynn Clements, Executive Director of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, provided welcoming remarks to the members and audience.

The joint subcommittee then heard testimony from the Carlyle Group, Carrix, Inc./Goldman Sachs, and CenterPoint Properties. The testimonies relate to the aforementioned companies' unsolicited proposals to operate Virginia's publicly operated seaports.

Barry Gold, Managing Director, The Carlyle Group
Mr. Gold provided a private equity snapshot as well as an overview of The Caryle Group. A copy of his presentation can be found at: http://dls.virginia.gov/GROUPS/ports/MEETINGS/120309/Carlyle.pdf.

Bob Watters, Vice-President & Director, Business Development for Carrix, Inc.
Mr. Watters provided an overview of Carrix and Goldman Sachs as well as a summary of their proposal. A copy of his presentation can be found at: http://dls.virginia.gov/GROUPS/ports/MEETINGS/120309/Carrix.pdf.

Paul Fisher, President, CenterPoint Properties
Mr. Fisher provided an overview of CenterPoint Properties and reviewed the case for a strategic partnership and CenterPoint's strategic partnership proposal. A copy of his presentation can be found at: http://dls.virginia.gov/GROUPS/ports/MEETINGS/120309/CenterPoint.pdf.

Final Recommendations

After the presentations, Chairman Purkey asked the members to provide final comments. He also asked that the members send written findings and recommendations to staff for inclusion in the final report. Chairman Purkey thanked the presenters and members for their hard work.

The Hon. Harry Purkey

For information, contact:
Kevin Stokes, Caroline Stalker , DLS Staff

Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2009