Guam Port Authority To Petition For High Port Tariffs

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5.65 percent increase to be used for port improvement projects

By Joy White

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, May 10, 2013) – The Port Authority of Guam (PAG) board of directors yesterday approved a petition that will be sent to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to increase port tariffs by 5.65 percent.

The increase will be used to fund a $10 million Service Life Extension Grant with Bank of Guam and is separate from the recent increase in the crane surcharge implemented in February.

"All board members recognize the impact this will have to the people of Guam. We recognize that every time there’s a tariff increase, it translates to a higher cost of goods," said acting board chairperson Christine Baleto.

In September 2012, a request for proposal was issued for a commercial lending institution to finance service life extension repairs on the port’s wharf as well as the procurement of a financial management system and top lifter.

At its April meeting, the PAG board questioned the high tariff and postponed making a decision in order to review the port management’s proposed fee increase and ensure the revenue generated will be designated specifically for capital improvement projects.

"We really wanted to make sure the funds that are acquired from this increase go toward those port improvement projects so that we can see tangible results," Baleto said.

The petition was approved unanimously.

Feel good

"I think a lot of the board members feel good about it – that we provided for the port’s needs and made sure that the funding is going toward improvement projects," Baleto said.

However, there are many improvements that still need to be implemented at the port, she added.

One crucial area in need of improvement is the port’s financial management system for payroll. "We are in a crisis situation with that. The payroll system is not going to be able to work if we don’t upgrade," Baleto stressed.

In addition, the port needs a terminal gate operating system.

Once the petition is submitted to the PUC, a review and public outreach process will be conducted, which altogether could take up to six months.

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