Trade and transportation groups in Southern California are urging the Port of Long Beach not to transfer $16.9 million in harbor revenue to the city as requested by the city council.
With cargoes softening and ports throughout North America competing aggressively for freight, the Port of Long Beach must invest its revenues in projects that will expand capacity and promote efficiency, trade groups said in a letter to the harbor commission.
The Long Beach City Council last week voted to ask the harbor commission to transfer $16.9 million. The funds transfer would be allowed under a controversial voter initiative that was approved last year.
In a letter to Harbor Commission President Susan Wise, the Foreign Trade Association, FuturePorts, the Harbor Association of Industry and Commerce, the Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association, the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and the Los Angeles-Long Beach chapter of the Propeller Club opposed the transfer.
The port already is committed to transfer large sums of money to the city under existing agreements. “Based on the port’s fiscal year 2011 and 2012 budgets, the port will have provided the city of Long Beach more than $100 million in oil revenues, oil lease revenues and two annual transfers,” the trade associations wrote.
The letter said the port must invest in expansion to maintain its growth in cargo volume and to remain an economic engine for the city. The port’s fiscal 2012 budget calls for $630 million in capital spending.
Projects such as the Middle Harbor expansion, construction of a new Gerald Desmond Bridge and installation of cold-ironing capacity require the use of port revenues for harbor expansion, the trade associations said.