Maersk Sealand: No Va. terminal deal yet

Maersk Sealand: No Va. terminal deal yet

Maersk Sealand today denied a published report that it has a deal to build a new terminal at the Port of Hampton Roads, Va.

The Hampton Roads, Va. Daily Press on Friday quoted an unnamed local official as saying that A.P. Moller-Maersk, the Copenhagen-based parent of Maersk Sealand, had signed off on a deal valued at up to $400 million to develop a private terminal at Portsmouth with capacity of 500,000 TEUs per year.

"We have not signed off on anything," said spokesman Tom Boyd. "There are still many issues to be discussed before anything is finalized."

The newspaper said the terminal would include 3,500 feet of berthing area and nearly 300 acres of terminal space. "I don't know where those figures came from," Boyd said.

APM Terminals, a subsidiary of A.P. Moller and sister company of Maersk Sealand, in 2001 purchased 576 acres of land along the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth for $8.2 million from Cox Enterprises, the owner of cable operator Cox Communications.

The three state-owned port terminals at Hampton Roads moved 1.65 million TEUs in 2003.

APM Terminals in a statement released Friday said, "An article that appeared in a local Virginia newspaper today inaccurately indicates that our company has received final internal corporate approval to build a container terminal on the former Cox Property in Portsmouth, Virginia.

"The project is still undergoing an internal review process that requires further approvals on the project before any decision is made.

"This internal review process is expected to take another 30-60 days."

The report said the terminal was slated to be completed by 2008, and said it would be the carrier's busiest East Coast traffic hub.

Hampton Roads has capacity of about 1.8 million TEUs per year, including expansion now underway.

Maersk Sealand is eager to expand capacity at Hampton Roads, where it is "just about operating at our limit," said Boyd. He said the location was envisioned as a strategic hub for the mid-Atlantic region, and probably wouldn't siphon off traffic from New York/New Jersey, the line's main East Coast center.