Trade with India accounts for a consistently growing share of The Port of Virginia’s business and because of that the Virginia Port Authority recently contracted with an experienced firm to represent the VPA in that country.

In late 2007, the VPA and PL Shipping & Logistics Ltd. signed an agreement for that company to represent the VPA in India’s primary manufacturing centers, inland transport hubs and major container ports. The company will promote the shipment of Indian cargo via The Port of Virginia, highlighting the port’s geographic advantages, operational efficiencies and its intermodal reach.

‘The growth we’ve seen in our trade with India is not an anomaly and we think that we can continue to cultivate that market by having someone there selling the advantages of the Port of Virginia,’ said Jerry A. Bridges, the VPA’s executive director.

In 1994, the VPA’s terminals handled 8,490 teus coming from or headed to India; in 2006, the VPA handled 62,860 teus in its trade with India. The average annual growth in trade between Virginia and India, since 1994, has been 17 percent. In 2006, India ranked No. 6 in total container volume.

‘PL Shipping’s experience and network give us a base for creating awareness about this port among India’s shippers and service providers,’ Bridges said. ‘From there we can offer trade support and logistics collaboration.’

In the last two years, Jeff Keever, the VPA’s deputy executive director, Tom Capozzi, senior managing director of marketing, and Russell J. Held, marketing director manager, all visited India on trade missions. While there, they attended industry-related trade shows, hosted seminars and met with by Indian officials in an effort to build trade and gauge market potential.

In addition, having VPA representation in India fulfills a recommendation of VITAL, a state task force that is focused on building strong international business ties. The task force—Virginia International Trade Alliance—urged VPA and the Virginia Economic Development partnership establish some form of representation in India.

‘The people I met in India let me know that there is a lot of interest in doing business with Virginia,’ Capozzi said. ‘I’m quite confident we will continue to see very strong growth in trade with that country.’

P L Shipping & Logistics LTD, part of the 145-year-old Pierce and Leslie Group, has a presence across India, with 12 offices covering all major ports and inland hubs.

India trade in teus:
2002: Imports = 19,282

Exports = 11,822
2003: Imports = 27,788

Exports = 14,367 2004: Imports = 36,791

Exports = 18,951
2005: Imports = 41,131

Exports = 22,322
2006: Imports = 44,253

Exports = 18,607

2007 (through Oct.): Imports = 38,710
Exports = 19,920