Governor Bob McDonnell today issued the following statement upon completion of a comprehensive audit of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA)'s operator, Virginia International Terminals (VIT). The audit was initiated following the decision earlier this year to terminate the Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA) process for port operations.
"In April, when the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners voted to terminate the PPTA process for port operations and instead initiate a corporate restructuring of the VPA's relationship with its operator, VIT, I called for a comprehensive audit of VIT prior to the VPA's assumption of all liability over port operations. The results of this audit confirmed many of the challenges identified in prior reviews and studies of the port, including the recently completed Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) review. The audit identified concerns over a lack of proper internal audit controls and complete financial reporting mechanisms, inadequate procurement policies and procedures, executive compensation, a lack of communication and transparency between the VIT and VPA Board under the former organizational model, and increased costs and inefficiency.
"The Port of Virginia is ripe with opportunity. As the only East Coast port currently capable of handling post-Panamax class cargo vessels, Virginia is at a tremendous advantage in seizing a sizeable portion of what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates to be over 30 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of growth on the East Coast by 2030. To seize upon this opportunity and grow cargo volumes and create jobs, it is imperative that the Port of Virginia be as cost-effective and efficient as possible.
"The reforms implemented by our Administration and the Board of Commissioners are making great progress towards this aim. In calendar year 2012, the port had its second highest year on record, with just over 2.1 million TEUs passing through its terminals. Further, the port's revenues are improving, and nearly every month this year setting new cargo volume records.
"Many of the challenges identified through this audit are already being addressed through the corporate restructuring. However, as the audit shows, much work remains to be done. I am supremely confident that the Board of Commissioners and recently selected Executive Director Reinhart are up to the task. I look forward to working with them throughout the remainder of my term in office to make the Port of Virginia the number one port on the East Coast."