Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said APM Terminals wants to sell the semi-automated container terminal it now leases to the Virginia Port Authority, and that he’s directed state Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne to open negotiations.
Eric Sisco, president of APM Terminals North America, declined to discuss the issue when contacted by the newspaper. “We don’t comment on matters such as this involving our facilities,” he said.
McAuliffe, however, said APMT wants to sell the terminal that the company opened in 2007 and now leases to the VPA under a 20-year agreement that the governor has said he wants to renegotiate. The lease expires in 2030.
“Listen, they want out of it,” he told the Virginian-Pilot. “They actually came to us recently and wanted us to buy it back from them. I don’t want to get into the number, but the number was ridiculous, not even in the ballpark.”
Asked whether APMT asked for a price of more than $600 million, McAuliffe said yes.
“It was so unreasonable and unacceptable, we rejected it immediately,” he said. “I guess you shoot high and hope for it. They’re not going to get anything like that out of this governor, I can promise you that.”
Nevertheless, he said he has instructed Layne to begin negotiations.
“Listen, it’s got to make sense for us,” he said. “I’d like it to make sense for them. I mean, we got to get to a place — but we’re nowhere even close today.”
The lease agreement contains payments that rise gradually and will total more than $1 billion over the full 20-year term.
McAuliffe said the April 17 shakeup of the VPA board was aimed at reversing operating losses that the port authority has suffered despite handling record cargo volumes.