Commerce Builder Award Presented to John F. Reinhart, Executive Director and CEO Emeritus of The Port of Virginia

Virginia Beach, Va. – April 28, 2023 – The Hampton Roads Global Commerce Council (HRGCC), a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing together and serving the industries in Hampton Roads associated with national and international commerce, has awarded the prestigious Commerce Builder Award to John F. Reinhart, CEO and Executive Director Emeritus of The Port of Virginia®.

The Commerce Builder Award is given annually to an individual or company whose contributions have significantly influenced the growth of commerce and trade in Virginia. The award was presented yesterday at HRGCC’s flagship event, the annual State of the Port luncheon, which was held at the Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront.  

Mr. Reinhart was recognized for his exceptional leadership, innovation, and commitment to excellence during his tenure at The Port of Virginia and throughout his career. For these lasting accomplishments and contributions to the region’s international business community, the HRGCC is proud to present Mr. Reinhart with the Commerce Builder Award.

Mr. Reinhart took the helm at The Port of Virginia in February 2014, shortly after a controversial period when it was decided to keep the port in public hands. In his first full fiscal year, Mr. Reinhart guided the port back to operating profitability after seven years of losses. From there, he set out to strengthen all aspects of the organization.

Mr. Reinhart was the architect behind the port’s revitalization where it underwent the largest capital spending program in its history. Nearly $1.5 billion was invested to increase cargo and gate capacity at the Norfolk International Terminal (NIT) and Virginia International Gateway (VIG). At NIT, 22 lanes were added to the terminal’s north side to double its total gate throughput, and the south side became a semi-automated terminal, which increased its capacity by 46%. VIG doubled both its annual container handling capability and on-dock rail capacity to further modernize the already advanced terminal.

In 2019, dredging of the port began more than two years ahead of schedule. When it is completed in 2024, it will make Virginia the deepest port on the U.S. East Coast and enable two-way ship passage through its channels, a significant advantage for Virginia. These projects in total created a modern and efficient terminal system that could remain competitive globally.

Mr. Reinhart’s ability to unite various stakeholders around a vision – be it labor partners, motor carriers, elected officials, colleagues at the port, or the greater port community – led to innovation and advancements that have contributed to long-term sustainable growth, efficiencies, and safety at the port.

Throughout his career, he exhibited exceptional leadership, notably as the President and CEO of Maersk Line, Limited for 14 years prior to joining the port. Mr. Reinhart’s tenure at Maersk was marked by its ascension as the leading U.S. flag ocean carrier and his management of the Maersk Alabama hostage crisis and the successful rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips.

“It is an honor to receive the Commerce Builder Award from the HRGCC,” said Mr. Reinhart. “The award serves to recognize the accomplishments of everyone at The Port of Virginia and the support of the many stakeholders that contribute to its numerous achievements. It was through a collaborative and sustained effort that the port has become an anchor in our region’s and nation’s economy and has created a safe, sustainable and efficient terminal system. I am thankful to all the colleagues inside and outside of The Port of Virginia who made their own personal investment to position the port for long-term success.”

“John was the catalyst of renewal at The Port of Virginia,” said Kevin Speers, president of HRGCC. “He joined the port when it needed a leader to galvanize all its stakeholders around a bold vision, and he was clearly the right person to achieve it. As a leader in a global industry that is so important to our region, HRGCC is pleased to present John with the Commerce Builder Award.”

For more information about past Commerce Builder Award recipients should visit: Media inquiries may be directed to Kevin Speers, president of the HRGCC, at


About the Hampton Roads Global Commerce Council

Founded in the early 1950s, the Hampton Roads Global Commerce Council (HRGCC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the international commerce of the United States through the Hampton Roads region. Through education, information-sharing, and networking, the Council fulfills its mission to bring together and serve industries in Hampton Roads that are associated with national and international business. Since 1956, the Commerce Builder Award has been presented to recipients who have displayed extraordinary vision and outstanding leadership qualities.

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