Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

The head of the Harbor Commission said Friday that a $1.17 billion budget for the upcoming year anticipates growth in cargo volumes and will help the port “stay the course” in its battle for market share with other ports.

The newly approved budget anticipates $452.8 million in operating receipts, which is 5.7 percent over the current year due to projected higher shipping service revenues and cargo volumes. Those funds help pay for the port’s day-to-day activities.

Operating expenditures are expected to grow 3.6 percent to $249 million, primarily due to higher salaries and benefits, as well as reduced capitalized expenditures.

Capital improvement spending was set at $146.1 million, which is 24 percent greater than the current year. Those funds will go toward backland improvements at the TraPac terminal, berth improvements at Yusen Terminals Inc., wharf improvements for WWL Vehicle Services and liquid bulk terminals, and electrical infrastructure for the World Cruise Center.

Harbor Commission President Vilma Martinez said the budget allocations approved Thursday night “allow us to stay the course and continue building a healthy, strong and vibrant port that is ready to compete globally in the years ahead.”

The port is anticipating a 1.9 percent growth in cargo volumes in the upcoming year, or an increase to about 8.5 million TEUs.

To keep cargo moving quickly, the port has implemented a chassis pool system, a “peel-off” program and other optimization efforts, according to port officials.

“We’ve worked extremely hard to optimize the supply chain at both the national and international levels,” Port Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “While this work needs to continue, our supply chain initiatives have started to show early results.”

—City News Service

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