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Friday, 14 August 2015

FEMA awards $3.4m for Port of Long Beach security upgrades

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded $3.4 million of funding to the Port of Long Beach in order to improve security at the site.

The funding will be used to develop a Virtual Port System to monitor resiliency and detect threats as well as upgrades to existing physical port security systems.

“Protecting workers and the community, as well as ensuring business continuity, are top priorities at the Port of Long Beach. FEMA’s grant money will help us carry out important security projects and enhance our abilities to work with our security partners at the Port.,” Lori Ann Guzmán, president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners said.

Since terrorist attacks on the U.S. in 2001, the Port of Long Beach has received approximately$136 million in grants to improve security operations. The port is one of the busiest on the U.S. western seabord and recently announced it had achieved record volumes of throughput.

Volumes increased by 18.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) in July this year to 690,244 TEU. Both imports and exports via the port showed double digit growth with imports increasing by 16.2% y-o-y  to 345,912 TEU and exports increasing by 15.9% y-o-y to 143,875 TEU in July.

 “These exceptional results are great news for Long Beach and the nation’s economy. We’ve worked closely with all of our stakeholders to prepare for our peak season, which is off to a great start with very strong back-to-school shipments and our best export month in a year. We applaud our partners for their role in these impressive results,” Jon Slangerup, chief executive for the Port of Long Beach commented.

The growth in throughput comes on the back of an ongoing $4 billion capital improvement program at the port to modernize and expand the facility. Expansion work in the next phase will include construction of new terminals, road and rail infrastructure and dredging of the main channel to a depth of 23 metres. Upgrades will also include a new bridge, replacing the existing Gerald Desmond bridge.

“The budget, which will be presented to the Long Beach City Council for its consideration, designates $555 million for capital investments… For the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, 2015, the budget anticipates a 6.1% increase in operating revenue over the current fiscal year’s income. The Harbor Department generates revenue from goods movement through the Port of Long Beach, and receives no taxpayer revenue to operate,” a port authority spokesperson explained.

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