Under the direction of the Commonwealth's Secretary of Transportation, the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) is a State agency that owns four general cargo terminals, including the Port of Portsmouth Marine Terminal, and is responsible for operating and marketing the Hampton Roads marine terminal facilities. The VPA is responsible for stimulating commerce in the ports of the Port of Virginia and to provide customers with products and services that meet or exceed their expectations by continuously improving the ports in an environmentally responsible manner, including the Port of Portsmouth.
In 2008, the Port of Virginia handled 51.3 million tons of cargo, including 16.2 million tons of general cargo, 15.9 million tons of containerized cargo in 1.2 million TEUs, and 311 thousand tons of breakbulk cargo. Cargoes included 38.1 million tons of exports and 13.2 million tons of imports. The Port of Virginia served 2926 vessel calls.
The largest part of the Port of Portsmouth Marine Terminal was built on reclaimed land created by the construction of the Midtown Tunnel. When it began, the Port of Portsmouth was owned by a railroad serving Pinner's Point. The Virginia State Ports Authority purchased the terminal and then leased part of it to the City of Portsmouth in 1965.
The Port of Portsmouth Marine Terminal was a two-berth conventional cargo terminal by 1971 when the VPA bought the city's interest in the facility. A 1975 agreement between the city and VPA provided for the construction of a terminal on the Port of Portsmouth Marine Terminal property to be operated by Sea-Land Service Inc. Sea-Land constructed a 180-meter long marginal wharf in the Port of Portsmouth with paved backup storage, offices, maintenance garage, and a 26-bay warehouse. Sea-Land operated the Port of Portsmouth Marine Terminal under a 30-year lease that, when ended, returned the land and facility to the VPA.
Located downriver from the Norfolk International Terminal, the Port of Portsmouth Marine Terminal is the second largest container terminal in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Handling containers, breakbulk, and roll-on/roll-off cargoes, the Port of Portsmouth Marine Terminal covers over 88 hectares of land and contains more than six kilometers of rail track and direct rail access. The Port of Portsmouth offers almost three hectares of dry storage and 19 hectares for storage of almost 34 thousand TEUs of stacked containers with 260 reefer outlets.
The Port of Portsmouth Marine Terminal offers over a kilometer of wharves with three berths. It has a 13.7 meter deep main channel. The terminal has direct access to the CSX and Norfolk Southern railways, and it is connected to Interstate highways 95, 64, and 664 via US Highway 58.