CEO: Local port integral to future of organization

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — The Virginia Port Authority is now the largest East Coast railroad shipping facility and the Virginia Inland Port will play a critical role in the organization's future as it seeks to expand that service.

The Inland Port is one of six Virginia Port Authority terminals, with other locations in Norfolk, Newport News, Portsmouth and Richmond.

Virginia Port Authority Chief Executive Officer John Reinhart noted Wednesday at the State of the Port address that each facility must function to make the whole organization thrive.

The six facilities move about 220,000 units per month, for about 2.64 million per year, Reinhart said. That is an increase from about 2.5 million last year.

At the Inland Port, more than 3,000 incoming trucks generate more than $40 million in annual revenue, said Kevin Baker, director of sales and marketing for Valley Proteins. Its efficiency allows the port to keep up with global trade.

"The thing that makes Front Royal so special and the Inland Port so special is the rail connection," Virginia Port Board of Commissioners President John Milliken said.

The Inland Port also is key to the portís future because it gets cargo off the water quickly, Milliken said. That efficiency allows the port to keep up with international trade.

The Virginia Port Authority overtook New York and New Jersey in October 2016 as the largest railroad shipping facility in the east, Reinhart said. The railroad aspect of the organization will grow fastest.

Of the 220,000 units moved per month, about 37 percent are transported by rail, an increase of about 14 percent from last year.

The Inland Port's critical role to the organization has attracted 39 manufacturers to Warren County, including the likes of Home Depot, Red Bull, Rubbermaid, Toys R' Us and Northwest Hardwood.

"These people started a trend that I think is only going to accelerate here in this region as we continue to improve the velocity coming through Front Royal," Reinhart said.

The General Assembly and the state's executive department have joined hands in ensuring that the Inland Port will be an integral aspect of long-term growth strategy and a benefit to the entire state, Milliken said.

In the first nine months of Fiscal Year 2017, the Virginia Port Authority shipped 1.2 million containers. The port has garnered more than $1 billion in private investment, has $6.7 million of construction underway, and has created more than 4,000 jobs.

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