The Los Angeles Harbor Commission Thursday approved a $1.5 billion budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which takes into account lower cargo volumes and a continued slowdown in the global economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of the 2019 trade war.
The approved budget has an emphasis on long-term investments in the supply chain and Port of Los Angeles infrastructure in light of current market conditions, according to the commission.
“Given the unprecedented issues facing the world today and the immediate impact they have had on the economy, we are taking a decidedly conservative approach to formulating this year’s Harbor Department’s budget,” said Harbor Commission President Jaime Lee.
Port officials said they expect cargo volumes projections to be relatively slow through the first six months of the 2020-21 fiscal year and cargo volumes will decrease by about 15.6% over the previous fiscal year to slightly more than 7.9 million shipping containers.
The budget also projects a year-over-year decrease of 7.9% in operating revenues of $460.1 million, with operating expenses forecast at $277.8 million.
“To best manage through these uncertain times, 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 that will assure our competitiveness over the long term,” said Marla Bleavins, the port’s deputy executive director of Finance and Administration, and Chief Financial Officer.
The budget includes $163.6 million for capital improvement projects, including funding for key terminal upgrades such as $38.1 million in improvements at the Everport Container Terminal and another $4.8 million designated for the Pasha Terminal.
Among LA Waterfront public access projects in the approved budget are the San Pedro Public Market at $42.3 million and $9.7 million for related projects at the Wilmington Waterfront Promenade.
Security-related projects are funded at $7.8 million, which include development of a Port Cyber Resilience Center and an upgraded Port Police Radio System.
The Port of Los Angeles has remained open with all terminals operational during the COVID-19 pandemic.