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PORTSMOUTH, VA-APM Terminals Virginia Inc. has submitted plans to the US Army Corps of Engineers for a new marine terminal to cost an estimated $385 million. Anticipating an increased need for cargo facilities in the area in the years to come, the company is seeking permission to build on a 576-acre waterfront plot that it acquired from Trailsend Land Co. last year for $8.2 million. News of the application, which was submitted simultaneously to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, puts to rest nearly a year of speculation on what the company would do with the property.

APM’s plan calls for developing a 300-acre space to hold containers, and a 4,000-foot dock, or berthing facility, on the Elizabeth River that could accommodate numerous gargantuan shipping containers all at once. The company–a subsidiary of Copenhagen-based AP Moller Group, which owns the preeminent steamship line Maersk Sealand–hopes to complete the project by 2005. However, there are many hurdles to overcome before APM gets the go ahead on its proposal.

“We are looking for public comments until November 14 and then, based on the comments we receive and our review of the application, we will issue a denial or an approval,” US Army Corps of Engineers regulatory division environmental scientist Peter Kube tells GlobeSt.com. “We have to weigh and balance the costs and benefits. There are many factors we’ll be looking at, including environmental impact, transportation issues, and dredging issues.”

Environmental ramifications of the project have already been taken into consideration by APM. The company’s proposal calls for the development of 15 acres of on-site salt marsh to counteract negative impacts to existing marsh and mudflat areas. The plan also stipulates the creation of nearly 20 acres of forested wetlands and 43 acres of degraded wetlands.

In their preliminary review, Army Corps officials conclude that APM’s proposal indicates “that no species of fish, wildlife, or plant listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act will be affected.” APM will have to attain permits from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and the Portsmouth Wetlands Board, with which it is scheduled to confer in December.

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