wants out of lease with Port Authority
- Apr. 18
By Robert McCabe
© April 18, 2014
Two weeks ago, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe told the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce that the Virginia Port Authority's 20-year lease of APM Terminals' Portsmouth container facility was one of the worst lease deals he had ever seen.
On Thursday, after naming five new Port Authority board members, he told The Pilot that APM wants to sell its terminal to the authority and that talks on a potential deal are about to get under way.
Eric Sisco, president of APM Terminals North America, declined to discuss the issue late Thursday.
"We don't comment on matters such as this involving our facilities," he said.
McAuliffe, however, did.
"Listen, they want out of it," he said.
"They actually came to us recently and wanted us to buy it back from them. I don't want to get into the number, but the number was ridiculous, not even in the ballpark."
Asked if APM asked for a price of more than $600 million, McAuliffe said yes.
"It was so unreasonable and unacceptable, we rejected it immediately," he said.
"I guess you shoot high and hope for it," he said. "They're not going to get anything like that out of this governor, I can promise you that."
Nevertheless, he said he has instructed Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne to begin negotiations.
"Listen, it's got to make sense for us," he said. "I'd like it to make sense for them. I mean, we got to get to a place - but we're nowhere even close today."
The nearly 4-year-old lease agreement is projected to cost the authority more than $70 million a year by the time the deal ends in 2030 - more than $1 billion total.
The lease payments are gradually increasing at a time when the Port Authority has been struggling to break back into the black after more than five years of operating losses.
Robert McCabe, 757-446-2327, firstname.lastname@example.org