Thursday, December 26, 2013

Port of Virginia: A Big Asset Off NOVA's Radar

One of the things I've come to appreciate since being elected is the impact major pieces of public infrastructure has on Virginia's economy.  Dulles Airport tends to grab much of the attention in Northern Virginia.  Access to an international airport creates all kinds of possibilities in attracting business. 

Another asset that most Northern Virginians are not familiar with is the Port of Virginia.  The Port of Virginia was dates back to the 1700's, but was officially created by the 1982 consolidation of the Norfolk, Newport News, Portsmouth Terminals along with the creation of the Virginia Inland Port (Intermodal Transit Facility off I-81 where containers are initially shipped by rail). 

The port is the third largest on the East Coast and handles huge volumes of cargo going in or out by truck, rail, and ship.  Billions of dollars of products pass through every month and billions of dollars of products consumed by Virginians every year originate here.  The impact on Virginia jobs is unmistakable.
  • The Port has an impact of $43 billion per year on Virginia.
  • 343,000 jobs - 1 in 11 jobs in Virginia is tied to the Port of Virginia
  • 2,000,000 containers per year
As Executive Director Rodney Oliver points out on the video:
Every six containers represents one Virginia job and an impact of about $20,000 to the state economy
Virginia has one of the only ports that can take "super" ships with more than a 20-foot draft.  Once the deepening of the Panama Canal is completed, many more of these larger ships will be destined for the East Coast. 

Another interesting point was the list of biggest import and export partners for the Port of Virginia.  Generally speaking, Virginia is importing finished goods and exporting raw materials.  Also, right now the import/export ratio from the Port of Virginia is about 50/50. 

Largest Import Partners
  1. China.
  2. Germany
  3. Brazil
  4. India
  5. Italy
  6. Turkey
  7. France
  8. Trinidad & Tobago
  9. Japan
  10. Canada
Largest Export Partners
  1. Italy
  2. Netherlands
  3. Brazil
  4. India
  5. Turkey
  6. China
  7. United Kingdom
  8. France
  9. South Korea
  10. Germany
Top 10 Commodity Exports
  1. Mineral fuel, oil, etc.
  2. Miscellaneous grain, seed, fruits
  3. Woodpulp
  4. Food waste, animal feed
  5. Wood
  6. Iron & Steel
  7. Plastic
  8. Paper, paperboard
  9. Cereals
  10. Organic chemicals
Top 10 Commodity Imports
  1. Machinery
  2. Furniture & Bedding
  3. Sal, sulfur, earth, stone
  4. Beverages
  5. Vehicles
  6. Fertilizers
  7. Mineral fuel, oil, etc.
  8. Rubber
  9. Paper, paperboard
  10. Wood
It is important to remember that these kinds of assets bind us together as a Commonwealth and it is important to stay informed about them.  This summer, C-SPAN ran a three hour show focused on the Port of Virginia.  If you are a public policy geek like me, you can watch a replay of the series and learn more about your state here:

Cong. Scott Rigell and Cong. Bobby Scott on C-SPAN

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