zoom The Port of Virginia, one of major ports on the US East Coast, has signed a new, long-term lease for Virginia International Gateway (VIG) that clears the way for the port to begin work on doubling capacity at the deep-water container terminal.The new lease, which was negotiated during a two-year period, will give the port oversight of and operating rights at the terminal until 2065. Further, the lease allows the port to begin work on a USD 320 million project to build the terminal’s second phase, with the construction expected to begin this year.The lease is between the Virginia Ports Authority (VPA) and Virginia International Gateway Inc., which is owned by Alinda Capital Partners and Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). The lease is scheduled to go into effect on November 1.“Within the existing footprint, we will have the capability and capacity to process a total of 1.2 million (container) lifts – 2 million TEUs — annually through VIG,” said Aubrey L. Layne, Virginia secretary of transportation. “The negotiation process was a collaborative effort with both the Alinda, USS team and the port making a significant investment in resources and time. Everyone worked together to reach this agreement knowing the long-term benefits to the port and throughout Virginia.”Presently, VIG is processing 600,000 container lifts annually. The terminal is served by eight ship-to-shore cranes and has on-dock rail with service provided by both CSX and Norfolk Southern. The expansion will take an estimated three years to complete and result in a longer berth, an expanded rail operation, an expanded container yard and four new ship-to-shore cranes.VIG is a privately owned marine container terminal located along the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth. The facility was commissioned in July 2007, and is the largest privately-owned container terminal in the United States. In July 2010, the VPA and VIG entered into a 20-year lease agreement under which the VPA is currently operating VIG.