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NORFOLK (AP) -- The Virginia Port Authority Tuesday decided not to privatize most of its port operations.

The authority had received an unsolicited bid from APM Terminals last spring to privatize most of its port operations, taking over the job that has been done by Virginia International Terminals Inc. for the past 30 years.

A group headed by JP Morgan Chase & Co. was also a contender in the process seeking a long-term lease of port facilities. The companies said their proposals were worth billions of dollars.

The decision by the 12-member Board of Commissioners came after they met behind closed doors for several hours. The board will seek to restructure its operations to improve its performance.

'We will move forward as a stronger, leaner organization that is better-positioned to serve the ocean carriers and port customers, attract cargo to Virginia and be more accountable to Virginia taxpayers,' William Fralin, chairman of the VPA board, said in a news release.

The plan calls for restructuring both the Va. Port Authority and Va. International Terminals. Officials say VIT will become a single member LLC (limited liability corporation) under more direct control by the VPA as it moves to eliminate duplications, increase efficiencies and reduce costs.

The board also hopes to have permanent leadership in place by this fall.

AP-WF-03-26-13 0606GMT

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