Port of Los Angeles adopts $1.5 billion budget

Cargo ships, containers, and cranes in the largest port in the western United States, the Port of Los Angeles located in San Pedro, California just west of downtown LA, California.  This image was shot from an altitude of about 1000 feet.

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners has approved a $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 lines up 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.  

“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 Jaime Lee, President of the Los Angeles Harbor Commission.

“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.

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 TEUs.

The budget also projects a corresponding year-over-year decrease of 7.9% in operating revenues, with projected receipts totalling $460.1 million. Operating expenses are forecast at $277.8 million.

Budget allocations for infrastructure and Port capital improvement projects (CIP) for FY 2020/21 will enable the Port to continue developing world-class infrastructure for container and cargo terminals; promote the most efficient movement of goods; implement systems to enhance security at the Port; and continue work on projects improving public access to the LA Waterfront.

The FY 2020/21 $163.6 million CIP budget includes continued 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 key 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.

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