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Virginia Port Authority hires new CEO

PortandTerminal.com, October 31, 2020

NORFOLK, VA – Stephen Edwards will become the chief executive officer and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, effective Jan. 19, the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners announced Wednesday.

He succeeds John F. Reinhart, who announced in May of his retirement in March 2021 after a seven-year term in which he oversaw the resurgence of the port’s operations in Hampton Roads and Richmond.

Edwards has been president and CEO for two years at TraPac LLC, a California-based company that operates container terminals in Los Angeles; Oakland, Calif.; and Jacksonville, Fla.

Prior to TraPac, he was president and CEO for five years at Global Container Terminals, which has two container terminals in Vancouver and container terminals in New York and New Jersey.

Previous industry experience includes president and chief executive officer of Ports America Group; president and chief executive officer of P&O Ports North America; and senior positions with P&O Nedlloyd/P&O Containers.

At the Port of Virginia, Edwards will lead operations at the nation’s fifth-largest port.

The state owns and operates four general commercial marine and inland terminals: Norfolk International Terminals, Portsmouth Marine Terminal, Newport News Marine Terminal and the Virginia Inland Port in Warren County. It also leases and operates the Virginia International Gateway and the Richmond Marine Terminal.

“The goal is to take these collective assets and put them to work to the benefit of customers and cargo owners while attracting new business, jobs and economic investment to Virginia,” Edwards said in a statement.

Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement that Edwards’ experience and track record will ensure the Port of Virginia can build upon its strong foundation. “Bringing Stephen on board sends a strong message that the port will continue to be a powerful economic engine for Virginia, helping attract new businesses and anchoring a healthy maritime trade industry on our shores,” the governor said.

Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber, said he looked forward to working with Edwards, who has more than 20 years of experience in the maritime industry.

DuVal also applauded Reinhart for his years of service. “Replacing someone like John Reinhart is no easy task — his leadership since 2014 has elevated the port’s standing in both domestic and international trade,” DuVal said in a statement.

Reinhart began working at the port in February 2014, joining after the port had lost $120 million in the five years before he started. There was talk in the two years before he arrived to lease the port’s operating rights to a private entity, but ultimately Virginia decided that its port operation and management would remain in state hands.

Under Reinhart’s leadership, the port returned to profitability and record-setting cargo volume for six consecutive years.

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