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Port of Virginia’s CEO John F. Reinhart announces his retirement

John Reinhart, the Virginia Port Authority’s CEO and executive director

PortandTerminal.com, May 19, 2020

NORFOLK, VA – John Reinhart, the Virginia Port Authority’s CEO and executive director who has overseen an era of expansion, will retire in March 2021. Reinhart has been the Port of Virginia’s leader for the last six-and-a-half years.

The Virginian Pilot is reporting that Reinhart made the announcement at the authority’s Tuesday morning board meeting saying he was “very confident in the long-term future of The Port of Virginia,” according to a statement from the agency. “This port has made tremendous progress during the past six years, and we should be proud of what we have accomplished.”

The former president and CEO of Norfolk-based shipper Maersk Line Ltd. was hired by The Port of Virginia in 2014 and arrived just as the authority chose to keep it a public entity rather than let it go private. The Port, which had been operating at a loss every year since 2009, began earning more from its operations than it was spending beginning in fiscal year 2017.

“John Reinhart was the right man at the right time. His strength of character, combined with his clear vision and leadership skills, lifted The Port of Virginia from a very low point in early 2014 to its proper role as one of the nation’s pre-eminent commercial gateways,” said John G. Milliken, chairman of the VPA board.

The number of 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs — a key metric for port operations — to travel through The Port has risen rapidly during Reinhart’s tenure, growing from 2.2 million TEUs in 2014 to nearly 3 million in 2019, according to The Port of Virginia’s 2019 fiscal year report.

Reinhart has overseen expansions at the state’s largest port operations at Norfolk International Terminals and Virginia International Gateway in Portsmouth and secured $350 million from the state for a massive dredging project to create one of the deepest port channels on the east coast by 2024 to accommodate the largest cargo ships.

“Upon arrival, he focused first on stemming the port’s financial losses and on restoring its credibility in the marketplace. He then reinvented the port from the bottom-up and rebuilt its terminals into modern, semi-automated facilities able to handle the largest vessels calling on the East Coast,” said board chair John Milliken.

The Port of Virginia — the third largest on the east coast behind New York/New Jersey and Savannah — also has oversight of the Newport News Marine Terminal, Portsmouth Marine Terminal, Port of Richmond and the Virginia Inland Port and its privately-held terminal operating company, Virginia International Terminals, LLC.

“A lot of thought went into this decision, but when I consider the growth and maturity of this organization and the level of professionalism and dedication of the port team, I am very confident in the long-term future of The Port of Virginia,” 

John F. Reinhart, Virginia Port Authority’s CEO and executive director

Reinhart’s annual salary was $463,500 as of 2019. He also consistently earned more than $200,000 in performance bonuses each year, putting him among the highest-paid port leaders in the country.

Recent world events, including a trade war late last year and more recently the global COVID-19 pandemic, have taken a toll on The Port’s numbers as they have at ports across the country. Container volume has been down each month, year-over-year, since October, dropping 16% in April. The number of imported TEUs have tracked a similar trajectory, dropping by the same percentage last month.

A committee of five port board members, assisted by an international search consultant, will oversee the hiring of the Port’s next executive director.

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