Oakland issues plea for help in COVID-19 fight

The clouds parted to illuminate the docks just before sunset.

The Port of Oakland has issued a plea for help from the State Lands Commission as it struggles with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a video conference with state regulators, the Port’s Executive Director Danny Wan urged greater support for “financial stabilization efforts as the pandemic cripples businesses”.

“The Port of Oakland is operational in these unprecedented, challenging times and has stepped up for the state’s emergency response,” Mr. Wan told the State Lands Commission.  

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“But we will need to adapt our business model to new realities and ask the Commission to continue to work with us to find creative, workable solutions to stabilize our finances.”

Mr. Wan told Commissioners that the Port has concentrated on the health and safety of staff and customers, but is now facing a severe revenue shortfall.   A fall in volume combined with it receiving no tax revenue points to steep financial losses in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

The Port has stopped discretionary spending and suspended hiring and travel, Mr. Wan said.  “We can no longer expect any semblance of business as usual in our operations,” the Executive Director declared.

Mr. Wan said the Port is seeking assistance from government relief programs.  He asked the Commission to advocate for those efforts.

“We’re confident in our ability to be resilient amidst the crisis,” Mr. Wan said.  “We ask that you partner with us in in a manner that is consistent both with this new reality and with the principles set forth with the Tidelands Trust.”

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