Ballot proposition may weaken Port of Long Beach cargo operations
October 20, 2010 - LM Editorial
Leaders from Southern California’s goods movement industry today announced their unanimous opposition to Measure D.
According to spokesmen representing broad coalition of shipping interests, the proposed measure in Long Beach threatens local jobs and will make it more difficult for the Port of Long Beach to remain a leading ocean cargo gateway.
Measure D, which is on the Long Beach November 2 ballot, is a proposed city of Long Beach Charter Amendment that would change the formula for how revenues from the Harbor Department are transferred to the Tidelands Operating Funds (from 10 percent of net income to 5 percent of gross operating revenues). This amendment states that the management of the city’s oil properties and subsidence control operations are under the exclusive control of the Long Beach City Council rather than the Harbor Commission.
“Measure D is just a bad idea,” said Dan Meylor, President, Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association. “City politicians put it on the ballot without thinking about the negative impact on the local economy, jobs, or important projects ensuring clean air in the Long Beach Community. It will likely affect the port’s bond ratings and associated borrowing costs, driving up the cost of every project and program and
reducing the number of these that can be accomplished, which in turn will drive discretionary cargo to other ports in the United States.”
Which may already be happening, noted Luciana Suran, and economist with CB Richard Ellis Econometric Advisors. Speaking at the 2010 Supply Chain Council Executive Summit in Houston last week, she noted that the anticipated widening of the Panama Canal will impact Southern California.
“We see shippers exploring other all-water options,” she said. “While the sheer sized of the California market is impressive, it must still be managed for growth.”
William Lyte, past president of the Harbor Association of Industry and Commerce, agrees:
“Measure D could put a halt to the continued economic viability of the port. Failing to invest in the port only puts us at a greater disadvantage in the years to come.”
Sue Dvonch, vice president, Propeller Club of Los Angeles-Long Beach, observed that all of California may be hurt by Measure D.
“Those involved in international commerce play a vital and important role in our state’s economic structure,” she said. “They are concerned that Measure D will threaten California’s position as a leading global gateway and will negatively impact our economy should we fail to adequately invest in our state’s transportation infrastructure.”
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