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News & Press: Legislative

VRMA Supports Work at Virginia's Ports

Sunday, November 5, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Bannon Squirewell
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The Virginia Retail Merchants Association signed on to a coalition to support the work of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) and the Virginia Maritime Association (VMA) in support of the Port’s initiative to deepen and widen our harbor channels to 55 feet. Port Industries already provide more than 530,000 jobs in Virginia and 10.1% of GSP. Virginia has seen ever-larger ships from the ocean carriers calling the port, and that trend will continue. We must invest in dredging now and catch-up to our competing East Coast ports. The General Assembly must do everything it can to ensure Virginia remains the deepest port on the East Coast.



  • To gain economies of scale and capture market share, steamship lines have been adding ever-larger ships to their fleets, replacing smaller ships.
  • Three ocean carrier alliances now control over 90% of the market, routing their ships only to ports capable of handling the largest ships.
  • The Port of Charleston will take the title of the East Coast’s deepest port in 2020. Virginia has held this distinction since Jamestown was founded.
  • To keep the largest ships calling on Virginia, it is necessary to expedite widening and deepening our channels, reclaiming the competitive advantage of providing the deepest channels on the East Coast.
  • Port related industries already account for 530,000 jobs and 10.1% of GSP. Deeper and wider channels will make sure ultra-large container vessels continue calling Virginia frequently, ensuring the next stage of economic growth for our Commonwealth.

Virginia Must Regain Its Competitive Advantage by Deepening to 55 Feet

  •  Virginia has had Congressional Authorization since 1986 to deepen its main channels to 55 feet and the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River to 45 feet.
  •  The total cost of dredging the main harbor channels to 55 feet is $324m (Estimated 50% State and 50% Federal). The Federal Government now allows states to accelerate their projects and receive a credit back from the Federal Government. Both Georgia and South Carolina have taken advantage of this system to gain a competitive timing advantage on their projects.
  • The US Army Corps of Engineers has given tentative approval to widening and deepening to 55 feet and determined it will have an approximately 4:1 benefit cost ratio.
  • In the 2018 session, it is imperative that the Virginia General Assembly accelerate the harbor dredging to 55 feet. This project is a cornerstone of Virginia’s economic future.

Statement of Support

By completing the attached form, your organization will publicly support the dredging initiative and authorize the VPA and VMA to list my organization as a supportive entity in written materials. Please return to with your logo.


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