Ten markets to settle in next to the South's only Post-Panamax deep-water port
The fight between Charleston and Savannah over which port is first awarded funding to deepen its channels to handle Post-Panamax vessels once the Panama Canal's expansion is complete in 2015 has been interesting to watch. We just wonder what all the fuss is about. The American South already has a Post-Panamax port.
With shipping channels that are 50 feet deep and authorized to go to 55, the Port of Virginia is truly the South's only deep water port. Combine that with a decade of terminal modernization and development, and today the port stands ready to handle the biggest vessels transiting the Suez Canal and the future Panama Canal expansion.
The Port of Virginia is an international supply chain hub offering shippers over 30 weekly ocean carrier services to more than 250 ports in 80 countries around the globe. Multiple landside options exist for delivering cargo to and from the port including on-dock service from both Norfolk Southern and CSX railroads, barge service to Richmond, Baltimore and Philadelphia, and over 100 trucking companies offering drayage service to port customers.
The port is strategically located within a day's drive of two-thirds of the nation's population. That, along with a strong workforce, a robust Foreign Trade Zone program and international trade tax incentives and grants, has attracted a growing community of warehousing, distribution centers, and manufacturing operations to Hampton Roads and Virginia, a state that has drawn acclaim for its pro-business climate.
So, now that you are familiar with the South's only Post-Panamax port, here is a guide to 10 places in Hampton Roads, Va., where you can settle your business.
Hampton, a robust waterfront city situated in the center of the Hampton Roads region, has caught the attention of top businesses from around the country. The city is bound on the north and east by the Chesapeake Bay and on the south by the Hampton Roads Harbor. A totally integrated transportation network of interstate highways, air, rail and sea services provides easy access between Hampton and the worldwide markets. Hampton is the home of Langley Air Force Base, NASA Langley Research Center and the National Institute of Aerospace, as well as world-class medical facilities such as Hampton University's Proton Therapy Institute and Sentara CarePlex. Hampton has a unique mix of growing and established business clusters strategically designed to succeed and the city's state-of-the-art office and industrial business parks are located within Hampton's two Virginia Enterprise Zones.
Newport News is a highly successful, transformational community that balances economic activity and livability. It has proven itself to be a place where great things are happening. In addition to its many tree-lined traditional neighborhoods, walkable, new urbanist communities provide an increasingly popular alternative for living in Newport News. Unique, new developments have been successfully introduced throughout the city, but the city is also committed to the revitalization and redevelopment of its waterfront. Since 2008, more than $1.3 billion in new capital investment and nearly 4,000 new jobs in high-paying advanced manufacturing have been announced in the Newport News business community. Long gone are the days of historical definitions of blue collar jobs in Newport News! Many will find new, highly-skilled career opportunities through the expansions of Canon Virginia, Continental, Liebherr and Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.
Norfolk has long been the center for business and commerce in Hampton Roads, connecting the region to the world. And those connections just keep getting better. Of the five marine terminals operated by the Virginia Port Authority, Norfolk is the home of the largest, Norfolk International Terminal. The Virginia Port Authority (VPA) and Norfolk Southern are headquartered downtown. This allows their customers to be close to the action. The skilled and well-trained workforce development initiatives include an intense strategic focus to transition veterans to apply their military training to civilian sector jobs, an excellent fit for maritime disciplines.
With a total land area of 430 square miles, Suffolk is the largest city in Virginia. The prevalence of available land mixed with existing real estate provides more choices for businesses looking to expand, move, or open their operations within the city. The proximity to the Port of Virginia is of paramount importance to a large group of businesses in Suffolk. Utilizing the transportation infrastructure, the average trip by truck to/from the Port of Virginia takes approximately 15-20 minutes. This enables distribution centers to move product much quicker and more efficiently. For example, Ace Hardware Corporation invested $14 million in a 336,900-square-foot import redistribution facility. The Navy Exchange Service Command operates a distribution center that serves 152 Navy Exchange and Marine Corps outlets. Unilever/Lipton, QVC, Kraft/Planters Peanuts and Target are other companies established in Suffolk. Norfolk Southern and CSX operate commercial rail service throughout Suffolk. Thus the combination of being located close to ports, the interstate system and rail make Suffolk an attractive place to conduct business.
For 379 years, York County has been a desirable place to visit, live, and work. . .and with good reason. At its founding, the town boasted excellent accessibility (due to its proximity to the York River and the Chesapeake Bay) for use as a trading port between the colonies and England. Today, York County is the chosen home for families and businesses looking for everything in one place: good schools, excellent recreational and social opportunities, low crime rates, and a strong dedicated workforce. York County is home to over 65,000 citizens and is located within a 500-mile radius of two-thirds of the nation's population and three-quarters of the nation's manufacturing activities. Companies like Travaini Pumps USA have chosen York County as their U.S. location due to proximity to the Port of Hampton Roads and the low cost of doing business.
Chesapeake is a relative newcomer to the long history of Hampton Roads. The city was established in 1963 after the merger of Norfolk County and the city of South Norfolk. Chesapeake is recognized as a strong economic arena for business investment. The city is proud to have 68 companies from 18 different countries that call Chesapeake, Va., home. With easy access to the Port of Virginia, Chesapeake offers companies numerous site selection choices, including outstanding office space, industrial parks, available buildings and land. The city has been cited as one of the best run cities in America by 24/7 Wall Street, one of America's best cities by Bloomberg and by Money magazine's top 100 best cities to live.
The city of Franklin and Southampton County are located in the western sector of the Hampton Roads region. The area is home to the Southampton Commerce & Logistics Center, a 470-acre park that is fully serviced including rail. The park has convenient access to the Port of Virginia and Interstate 95. Both the city of Franklin and Southampton County encompass a geographic area of over 600 square miles within the Hampton Roads region of southeastern Virginia.
Everyone loves the beach and in January, Virginia Beach was named the 6th happiest city in the U.S. by Forbes. In addition, Bloomberg recently cited Virginia Beach as the 8th best city in America. The city has a diverse industry base, including corporate headquarters, manufacturing, science and engineering, IT and defense.
Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight is the most rural location you can settle in next to the South's only Post-Panamax port. With its natural beauty and high standard of living, Isle of Wight is rich in natural resources and populated by residents and businesses smart enough to use those resources wisely. Shirley T. Holland Intermodal Park in Isle of Wight County is perfectly positioned for incoming Panamax ships bringing cargo up the East Coast to the Ports of Virginia. Phases II and III of this 1,500-acre, publicly-owned and master-planned park are designed for light to moderate industrial uses, such as warehousing/logistics operations and advanced technology-driven manufacturing users requiring rail access. This public park is bisected by a Norfolk Southern mainline and is adjacent to a 1,700 acre privately-owned development that is also available for moderate to heavy industrial users -- featuring a 300-acre megasite. APM Terminals and The Port of Virginia's Portsmouth and Norfolk terminals are within 35 miles. Rail service is provided by Norfolk Southern.
Whether it is retail, residential, office or a maritime complex, Portsmouth offers a unique atmosphere; a metropolitan-based city with a hometown feel and a pedestrian-friendly downtown that is right on the waterfront. Portsmouth is in the heart of the Port of Virginia, with an ice-free, unobstructed, 50-foot depth, and direct access to more than 80 ports worldwide.