“If we recall, when the tariffs on china started in the prior administration, it led a lot of importers to concentrate on where else they can produce.” Said Stephen Edwards, President, and CEO of Port of Virginia.
The Hampton Roads Chamber welcomed Stephen Edwards as our Chamber Leadership speaker on May 26th. The Chamber works to be a powerful economic partner. Edward now helms one of the pillars of the local economy.
Presenting sponsor Southern Bank shared news about Southern Bank’s expansion and 120th birthday. "We had humble beginnings in rural North Carolina, but we now have 70 banking offices from Raleigh to outer banks and 13 serving Hampton Roads." Ben Ellington, Williamsburg City Executive for Southern Bank and Trust. Ellington then went to introduce Stephen Edwards.
Edwards began his presentation with an overview of the essential topics for discussion.
- Economic Impact
- Covid-19 Volumes
- Port Modernization
- Service Metrics
- Issues Elsewhere?
- Continued Investment
The Port of Virginia and William and Mary partnered to analyze The Port’s economic impact. “We know very very well that in a Port Complex, we touch about 1 in 10 jobs, or we have some direct or indirect impact on about 1 in 10 jobs in the commonwealth; and that has a large impact on the businesses of your trading or importing or exporting as a whole.”
Edwards questioned, "So what are we doing going forward?" He then presented the “55” Channel Draft and Widening framework currently in action at the Port of Virginia, set to be completed by 2024. “We have a very great maritime advantage in the port because of our proximity to the Atlantic Ocean Channels, but this will further enhance those channels and should be completed by 2024.”
The total volume of the Port of Virginia is up 26%, which great news for not only the Port of Virginia but for business in the Hampton Roads Region. "The good news is that we are the diamond in the rough, and expenses are down."
“Our role at the port here is the enable the big stuff to happen”. Although Edwards could not speak much due to ongoing negotiations, he gave insight into how The Port of Virginia will be a great Offshore Wind Hub opportunity for Portsmouth Marine Terminal.
Hampton Roads Chamber President and CEO Bryan Stephens asked, "What can The Hampton Roads Chamber do to help the port accomplish its mission?” Edwards responded with continuing the Chamber Leadership Series, "Let's start with these events, let's keep talking." Edwards also emphasized continuing the great job the Hampton Roads Chamber does on advocacy for infrastructure as well.
To view this Chamber Leadership Series, Zoom Video Episode, Click here.
To view Stephen Edward PowerPoint Presentation, Click here.
About Stephen Edward:
Stephen A. Edwards is the CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA). He is responsible for the broad programmatic areas of business and relationship development, infrastructure development, strategic marketing, economic development, finance, security, and safety. He directs and manages the operations of Virginia’s marine and inland terminal facilities through Virginia International Terminals, LLC, the port’s private terminal operating company, including Virginia International Gateway, Newport News Marine Terminal, Norfolk International Terminals, Portsmouth Marine Terminal, Richmond Marine Terminal, and the Virginia Inland Port.
He is a globally experienced leader in the maritime industry with extensive operational experience and a proven track record of growing businesses and creating long-term value for customers and stakeholders.
Before joining the VPA in January 2021, Stephen served as President and Chief Executive Officer for TraPac, LLC.and was responsible for the company's overall performance with a focus on safety, service, and sustainability. Before that, he was the CEO of Global Container Terminals. Previous industry experience includes president and CEO of Port America Group and president and CEO of P&O Ports North America.
As CEO and Executive Director of the VPA, Stephen will serve as an ex-officio member of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) board of directors.
Stephen holds a BS degree in Transport Management from Aston University in England.