300-acre container terminal to be built in Hampton Roads

$450 million project could increase capacity at port in Va. by 50%

April 20, 2004|By Peter Dujardin | Peter Dujardin,DAILY PRESS

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - APM Terminals, a sister company of the Maersk Sealand shipping line, said yesterday that it will spend more than $450 million to build a 300-acre container terminal in Hampton Roads that could increase by 50 percent the port of Hampton Roads' capacity to handle shipments.

Gov. Mark R. Warner, speaking to business and government leaders at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal against the backdrop of the McKinney-Maersk container ship, said the investment is the single biggest private investment in Hampton Roads' history and one of the largest ever in Virginia.

Construction is to begin next month on a 576-acre site on the Elizabeth River. The new terminal is expected to open for business in 2007.

The terminal is likely to spur more distribution centers in the region and create thousands of direct and spinoff jobs. That includes more than 200 terminal jobs, as well as jobs in related trucking, railroad, distribution centers, and the restaurant and hotel industries, among others.

APM Terminals officials said a study they commissioned projected the new terminal would generate $269 million in local tax revenue and $260 million in state tax revenue in the next 15 years, after accounting for tax credits that Maersk will get for building the terminal in a state enterprise zone.

The total economic impact on Virginia, including jobs the terminal creates indirectly, is expected to be $6.4 billion over that period, said APM Terminals spokesman Tom Boyd.

The new development will enable the port of Hampton Roads, which is quickly running out of terminal space, to continue its growth, and allow the port to surpass Charleston, S.C., as the No. 2 port on the East Coast in terms of containers shipments. Some at the event voiced confidence that Hampton Roads might begin to take on New York as No. 1.

Warner said the state's Transportation Department plans to spend $26 million to help railway and highway access to the site over the next five years, with about $20 million in highway money and $6 million in railroad money to improve access to the terminal site.

The Daily Press of Newport News, Va., is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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