Seaports Magazine - Winter 2015 - (Page 10)
» COVER FEATURE
Carbon steel slabs
unloaded at Pinto
Terminal at the Port
Today's ports are faced with finding the funds to
finance projects that meet a global demand.
By Sandy Smith
deas to better serve customers,
to bring new opportunities to the
region's economics or to expand into
new lines of business are certainly
there. But without access to capital, projects
large and small will remain on paper.
If the building projects at North American
ports are any indication, today's port leaders
have found creative ways to find the funds.
They have done so with the understanding
that capital planning for projects requires
a bit of prescience and an ability to predict
port capacity, foreign exchange rates and the
global economy. Oh, and to make those predictions with accuracy over a 20-year period.
"We run out our modeling," said John
Reinhart, CEO of the Port of Virginia. "At
4 percent, what would the volume growth
be? If it grows based on the last three years,
that becomes eight percent and you're more
than doubling your port volume, even on a
conservative basis. How do you figure out
Portsmouth Marine Terminal at the Virginia Port Authority.
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how to fund and build the infrastructure that
you can build today?"
The Port of Virginia contracted with the
College of William & Mary to make economic projections in 2006 and again in 2013.
The economic impact looked at the regional
job and infrastructure demands. "We are
now 10 percent of the economy of Virginia
because this port exists," Reinhart said. "If
you use economic modeling, 375,000 jobs
were in Virginia because the Port of Virginia
exists. If we do another 1 million containers,
that number goes to 500,000. You have to
look at it from a lot of different lenses."
Understanding the economic impact - and
the all-important jobs generated - can be
a powerful argument to draw government
investment. At the U.S. federal level, the
TIGER discretionary grant program gave a
significant boost to transportation projects
when Congress dedicated a total of $2.1 billion to fund projects that promise to achieve
critical national objectives. But that pie was
sliced among other rail, road and transit
The Alabama State Port Authority received
a TIGER grant a few years back, but the
grants "are difficult to get," said Jimmy Lyons,
director and chief executive.
While government investment is certainly
an important component of funding, it is far
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Winter 2015
From the President’s Desk
Expanding Capacity, Increasing Budgets
Navigating Cities, Counties and States
104th AAPA Annual Convention
Strategically Planning for Success
Stick to the Plan
AAPA XXIV Latin American Congress of Ports
Guarding Our Nation’s Ports Against Potential Threats
Keys to Success for Port Capital and Financial Planning
Port Game an Educational Tool – and Fun for All Ages
Port Planning and Investment Toolkit a Go-To Resource
Index of Advertisers
Seaports Magazine - Winter 2015