USA: Port of Long Beach Gets 12 Pct Budget Increase

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on Monday approved a $942 million budget for fiscal year 2013, a 12 percent increase over the past year, reflecting the Port’s growing investment in its facilities and infrastructure modernization.

The new budget includes $720 million in capital spending, a 14 percent increase over fiscal year 2012, from October 1 through September 30. The growth in capital investment comes mainly from two large construction projects that have already begun at the Port: the Middle Harbor Terminal Project and preliminary work for the replacement of the Gerald Desmond Bridge.

The new budget reflects the Port’s strategy to boost business by investing aggressively in environmental and capital improvement projects while keeping operating costs in check. The 2013 budget includes $104 million in environmental infrastructure projects and other programs aimed at improving air and water quality, and cleaning soil and undersea sediments. Because of the current weakness in global trade, the spending plan also reduces non-staff related operating costs by 5 percent.

Port Executive Director J. Christopher Lytle said that while the overall Port budget has increased because of infrastructure investments; it also reflects a prudent, fiscally responsible approach. He said it is imperative that the Port operate cost efficiently while investing heavily in the future.

We are consciously changing our mindset to one of frugality,” Lytle said. “We are trying to be smarter about all different aspects of what we do in our spending and our budget.”

Over the next decade, the Port plans to spend $4.4 billion to modernize its facilities, including Middle Harbor, which will be one of the greenest and most technologically advanced container terminals in the world. The projects will add thousands of construction jobs and tens of thousands of permanent jobs to Long Beach and the region.

The 2013 budget also adds 25 new positions at the Port, mainly to support the increased construction activity. There are no salary increases for management and only contractually mandated increases for staff.

Port finance officials also estimated a Tidelands Fund transfer of $16.8 million to the City based on 5 percent of operating revenue for 2012. The City has not yet requested the transfer officially.

The Port’s budget will be included with the rest of the City’s when it goes to the Long Beach Mayor and City Council for review.

In a separate action, the Board also elected officers for new terms. Susan E. Anderson Wise was re-elected President of the Board. Wise was appointed to the Harbor Commission in 2008. The Commission President serves as chair of the commission, running board meetings and often representing the Port to the public and shipping industry

Commissioner Thomas Fields was re-elected as Vice President and Commissioner Nick Sramek was voted Secretary. Commissioners Rich Dines and Doug Drummond will serve as Vice Secretaries. All terms will start July 1.

The five-member Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners is the governing body of the Port of Long Beach, which is the Harbor Department of the City of Long Beach.

The Port of Long Beach is the country’s second busiest seaport and a primary gateway for transpacific trade. Founded in 1911, the Port of Long Beach is leading the way to a new era of innovative and sustainable international trade.

Source: Port of Long Beach, June 7, 2012;

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