In 1952 the Commonwealth of Virginia created the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) for the main purpose of increasing commerce to the ports of Virginia. The Commonwealth realized that without improved promotion of shipped goods, improved navigable tidal waters, and sustainable relationships with established business; Virginia would fall behind in international trade. These supply chains play a crucial role in the economic engine of Virginia. The Port Authority is spurring growth in job creation, tax revenue, and corporate (both nationally and internationally) investment in the Commonwealth.
There are several strengths that the Virginia Port Authority has that give it an edge in making the ports of Virginia leaders on the world stage. First and foremost is the water depth. As the world population continues to grow, more products are being shipped to meet the new needs. As a result the size of cargo ships are also growing. The only problem is that as the ships get bigger they hold more cargo which causes them to have a lower draft. This lower draft is the Achilles heel of some ports because their water depth is to shallow. The Port of Virginia is fortunate enough to have over 50 feet of water depth. This means that the Port of Virginia can already handle the larger ships with room to spare. The other main positive in this scenario is that since the Virginia Port Authority and the Port of Virginia are Commonwealth entities. Thus, when the time comes, and it will come, that dredging will have to take place to be able accommodate even larger ships, then the Commonwealth will be able to expedite the dredging process red tape and keep Virginia moving forward economically.
Another strength is the partnership and infrastructure the VPA has created with rail companies so that double stacked cargo vessels can easily be unloaded at the Port of Virginia. This has outreaching affects to the economy of Virginia. Rail at times can be cheaper for some producers to get their products to a port for shipment. This also allows producers in the western part of the state to take advantage of the Inland Port. This allows them to ship their goods cheaper thus keeping cost down to consumers. The other advantage to the Port of Virginia having such a great rail system is that many other states ship their produced goods thru Virginia to the port for shipment. This all equates to more revenues coming and into the Commonwealth.
The impact that the Virginia Port Authority has on Virginia Agriculture is tremendous. Because agriculture is largest industry in the state the amount of agriculture products that are shipped overseas rank as the highest top 10 commodities ship last year.
Top 10 Commodities Exports
Item Tons (Thousands)
1. Mineral Fuel, Oil Etc 44,043.71
2. Misc. Grain, Seed, Fruit 1,554.06
3. Woodpulp, Etc. 1,354.37
4. Food Waste, Animal Feed 1,092.00
5. Wood 982.39
6. Iron and Steel 809.69
7. Plastic 505.55
8. Paper, Paperboard 494.50
9. Cearals 468.86
10. Organic Chemicals 388.47
The goal of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) is to make The Port of Virginia the leading ocean container terminal complex on the US East Coast. Because of this goal the VPA has a vested interest in seeing Virginia Agriculture continue grow and remain the largest industry in the Commonwealth.