Virginia Cargo Terminal to Open in 2007 with Private Security

APM Terminals chooses to go with private firm, rather than VPA Police


The Virginia Port Authority Police Department will not patrol APM Terminals' new $450 million Portsmouth marine cargo terminal when it opens in July, the state authority said Friday.

APM chose another entity for the job, said authority spokesman Joe Harris.

"That's APM's prerogative to go with the company they feel is the best fit for what they're doing," Harris said. "It's not a big blow to us, not at all."

The Port Authority police wanted to guard APM's 290-acre facility because it would have unified security across all of the port of Hampton Roads' major container terminals, including those owned by the authority in Norfolk, Portsmouth and Newport News. The General Assembly enacted legislation, at the authority's request, to enable it to vie for the APM contract.

The Port Authority, like authorities at many other large ports, operates its own police force to protect cargo from theft, guard against terrorist attacks and enforce rules and regulations. It planned to add 15 officers to the roughly 75-member force had it won the APM contract.

Gordon Dorsey, a spokesman for Maersk Inc., the North American division of Danish shipping conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, which is APM's parent company, said the company is in the "final phases" of its search for a security company .

APM is not ready to announce results, Dorsey said, and he would not confirm that the Port Authority police were out of the running. He said the search focused first on each bidders' capability to provide security and then on cost.

The new APM facility, being built off Va. 164, will greatly expand the port's capacity to import and export containerized cargo.

It replaces a 71-acre terminal APM has leased for 30 years at the Port Authority's Portsmouth terminal. That terminal has been patrolled by the port authority police, because the authority owns the land.