The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners has approved a US$1.5 billion budget for fiscal year (FY) 2020/21. The budget is based on expectations of slower cargo volumes in the near term and a continued slowdown in the worldwide economy, due to market uncertainties related to the Covid-19 pandemic and the lingering impacts from the 2019 trade war.
The approved budget is in line with the port’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan priorities, with emphasis on long-term investments in the supply chain and port infrastructure in light of current market conditions.
Marla Bleavnis, the port’s deputy executive director of finance and administration, and chief financial officer, confirmed that saying, "we focused this year’s revenues and expenditures on the port’s most urgent priorities—keeping the supply chain moving and investing in port infrastructure.”
With cargo volumes projected to be relatively soft through the first six months of FY 2020/21, the approved budget forecasts that cargo volumes will decrease by approximately 15.6% over the previous fiscal year’s adopted budget to slightly over 7.9 million TEU.
The budget also projects a corresponding year-on-year decrease of 7.9% in operating revenues, with projected receipts totaling US$460.1 million. Operating expenses are forecast at US$277.8 million.
“We are taking a decidedly conservative approach to formulating this year’s Harbor Department’s budget,” admitted Jaime Lee, president of the Los Angeles Harbor Commission.
According to the port authority, budget allocations for infrastructure and port capital improvement projects (CIP) for FY 2020/21 will enhance the port of Los Angeles in various sectors:
- Developing infrastructure for container and cargo terminals
- Promoting efficient movement of goods
- Implementing systems to enhance security at the port
- Working on projects improving public access to the LA Waterfront.
The FY 2020/21 US$163.6 million CIP budget includes continued funding for key terminal upgrades, such as US$38.1 million in improvements at the Everport Container Terminal and another US$4.8 million designated for the Pasha Terminal. Among key LA Waterfront public access projects in the approved budget are the San Pedro Public Market at US$42.3 million and US$9.7 million for related projects at the Wilmington Waterfront Promenade.
Security-related projects are funded at US$7.8 million, which include the development of a Port Cyber Resilience Center and an upgraded Port Police Radio System.