The Virginia Department of Transportation said Wednesday it is extending until Aug. 13 the deadline for alternative bids from private investors to take over operation of the terminals in the Port of Virginia.
Under the state’s Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995, it has to consider alternative proposals in response to the unsolicited conceptual proposal from APM Terminals to operate the port’s terminals.
“At this point, a number of different entities have expressed interest in submitting alternative proposals,” Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton said. “Several have been encouraged by shipping companies currently serving the port.” He said the deadline for submission was extended at the request of several potential bidders.
In May, APMT made an unsolicited bid it estimated at between $3 billion and $4 billion to take over the operations of all the terminals owned by the Virginia Port Authority under a 48-year lease.
The Virginia Port Authority operates the terminals in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News and Richmond through its subsidiary, Virginia International Terminals.
Connaughton said the feedback on considering bids for operating the port’s terminals has, for the most part, been positive. “Most legislators and stakeholders generally agree that APMT’s proposal is worth a serious review. They urged, however, that if the commonwealth moves forward, we ensure Virginia is getting the best deal possible,” he said.
“The commonwealth is in the port business to generate cargo and jobs, and it is no secret that the Port of Virginia has been struggling with both over the past several years,” Connaughton said.
“The issue we will be grappling with during the Public-Private Transportation process is what is the best path forward for increasing cargo and job growth in the short and long term: Is it by continuing to use the current private operator (Virginia International Terminals) that we have used exclusively over the past 30 years, or to replace VIT with APM Terminals or another operator?” he said.