Sustainability Starts With People

2020 brought many lessons and reminders. One of the most important reminders was this: “It’s all about the people.” In chapter one of this report, you heard multiple Port of Virginia colleagues share what sustainability means to them. At its root, sustainability is all about the people – the health and well-being of our colleagues, partners, customers, and the community. Our mission is to “deliver opportunity by driving business to, and through, the Commonwealth.” We are delivering those opportunities to people.

In the midst of a pandemic, The Port of Virginia took this lesson to heart and prioritized people.

COVID Response

COVID-19 continues to demand a response on many fronts. Twelve months ago, the port assembled a Continuity of Operations (COOP) Team to act as a clearinghouse for all information, questions, and actions related to our COVID response. This team is instrumental in the formation and execution of multiple initiatives and strategies that have enabled the port to operate continuously, protecting the flow of commerce by protecting the workforce.

Protecting our people

Bill Burket, Director of the Maritime Incident Response Team (MIRT) for The Port of Virginia, stresses the importance of community relationships, the safety of the port workforce, and the value of establishing a COVID response task force. Capt. Sam Stevens, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Virginia, speaks to the importance of trust and resiliency within the port community, where collaboration leads to solutions.
Reintroducing our ships to the East Coast in 2020 would have been a challenge without the help and dedication of the team from Virginia. They helped to see that our vessels were welcomed and worked with efficient service. Increasing our capacity was also never an issue with The Port of Virginia, as they were very welcoming of the volume growth and have stated they welcome the potential upsize of vessels that we could introduce. The investments that Virginia has made in the terminals will only help us as a carrier that is looking to grow.
Kathleen D DePrizio
Director, Marine & Terminal Operations /  HMM America Shipping Agency, Inc.

In late March, the port launched its “Critical Cargo Initiative (CCI)

The first container, bound for Indianapolis, was full of kits used to test for the coronavirus, along with other medical supplies
Two hours after it was offloaded from the vessel, it was on a truck and headed out of the terminal’s gates
Additional critical containers followed, destined for sites across the nation
The CCI is recognized as a “Best Practice,” adopted by additional ports
Since April 2020, nearly 500,000 temperature screenings have been conducted across The Port of Virginia terminals. Temperature screening at our facilities is just the first line of defense in our extensive COVID-19 safety protocols, and allows us to  continue to focus on safely moving cargo.
Keeping the economy moving and growing in a challenging year
During CY20, 38 port-related businesses announced new locations, or expansions, in Virginia
4,300 jobs were associated with these announcements
The port broke all-time cargo volume records in October, November and December 2020

Health and Safety

Health & safety are at the heart of sustainability. We actively work to identify hazards, develop solutions that will control those hazards, measure compliance with operational procedures, and motivate all colleagues and partners toward safe behaviors. Our goal is to eliminate all injuries, equipment damage, cargo damage, and unsafe practices from our enterprise.
Safety and sustainability are interwoven and a focus on safety always pays dividends. It can be tempting to take safety for granted and assume that other parties are protecting you. A critical component of the Port Police mission is to ensure all colleagues, customers and partners have a safe and secure work environment. Providing that safe and secure environment allows the port to achieve its mission, and allows the people to go home safely at the end of each day.
Mona McLaurin
Chief of Port Police, The Port of Virginia

The “Lost Work Day” trend has been below our industry's standard for more than five years and we continue to drive it lower.

Striving for safety

Ron Babski, Vice President of Health & Safety for The Port of Virginia, highlights the safety benefits generated by recent terminal optimization and describes the importance of recognizing and affirming positive behavior across the terminals.
Givens and The Port of Virginia enjoy a long and productive partnership. While our commercial interests frequently align, our shared emphasis on safety is a constant. On any given day, dozens of Givens’ truck drivers move in and out of the port facilities in Hampton Roads. Our professional drivers know that they will be treated with care and concern. The robust culture of safety, cultivated by The Port of Virginia, is a real benefit to the Givens organization.
Trevor Dunlap
Executive Vice President, Givens, Inc.

Professional Development

An organization that prioritizes its people also makes regular investments in them. The Port of Virginia is committed to providing its workforce with ongoing opportunities for professional training and development. The Port of Virginia's diverse talent, agile use of technology, and command of our ever-changing industry sets the pace for the supply chain of today, while plotting the course for its tomorrow.

Strong people means a strong port

Shaune Thomas, Director of Organizational Development for The Port of Virginia, discusses the importance of workforce development, the success of our summer internship program and the necessity of being flexible in the face of a pandemic.
One of the greatest investments we can make in our colleagues is professional development and training. Not only does training improve the knowledge and efficiency of our workforce, it sends a critical message: ‘The port is making an investment in your future because we value and believe in you.’ Attracting and retaining talented, motivated people is a core tenet of sustainability.
Monica Sturgis
Chief Human Resources Officer, The Port of Virginia
In CY20, our colleagues participated in more than 1,900 hours of training – covering multiple topics and content
27 colleagues participated in the port’s tuition reimbursement program in CY20
66 college-level courses taken

More than $121,000 in value returned to colleagues
The Hampton Roads Shipping Association and The Port of Virginia have always been strong partners in training. Despite continuing advances in technology, the waterfront remains a challenging environment, where injuries can, and do, happen. When terminal management comes together with the International Longshoremen’s Association, with a shared goal of fostering a safer, more efficient workplace, all parties benefit. A commitment to training builds mutual trust and respect and protects the future of the port.
Roger Giesinger
President & Chief Negotiator, Hampton Roads Shipping Association