The Virginia Port Authority and its terminal-operating subsidiary, Virginia International Terminals, confirmed Wednesday that they have been in discussions with APM Terminals since December 2008 under a Federal Maritime Commission Discussion Agreement.
The announcement came after local media reported the state-owned port operator is preparing to acquire the right to operate the two-year-old Portsmouth marine terminal that is owned and operated by APM Terminals.
The Daily Press, a newspaper that covers the Hampton Roads communities, said the deal, “which has not been finalized, would essentially eliminate VIT's major local competition and place in its hands one of the world's most automated and efficient cargo terminals.” See
Virginia Transportation Secretary Pierce R. Homer told the Daily Press that an arrangement between the VIT and APM "would do nothing but enhance the value — both short-term and long-term — of the combined port entity in the global marketplace."
"It's a win-win opportunity for all parties, but it is only an opportunity at this point," Homer said. Both the state's review process on the privatization bids and the talks between the Virginia Port Authority and APM "have many months to grind through."
The Daily Press said Homer is in the process of assembling an independent review panel that will determine whether the state should enter into detailed negotiations with any of the three bidders. Any final outcome is expected to be more than a year away.
The port authority said in its statement today that the goal of its discussion with APM terminals is “to optimize operations and use the world-class assets and capabilities available at The Port of Virginia to address the current commercial environment at the port, as well as the growth and capacity that will be required in the future.”
The port authority said the discussions have focused on the optimization of assets and ensuring the long-term success of the port, as well as its ability to support customer consolidations and reductions in volume. “These talks have included a number of potential options such as volume consolidations, lease arrangements, operating agreements and other opportunities,” it said.
“At this time, the negotiations are ongoing and no agreement has been reached. We remain committed to timely communication with our stakeholders and will share information as appropriate going forward,” the VPA said.
Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com.