Guam Port Being Run As ‘Band-Aid’ Operation: GM

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Aging equipment not being timely replaced

By Jasmine Stole

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety, July 7, 2015) – Port Authority of Guam General Manager Joanne Brown said the port is going to go through a critical period over the next 12 month. With equipment aging and a lack of timely response in the procurement of new equipment, the port must continue operations with existing, aging equipment.

"I don’t think there’s any other way around this reality. We’re going to be running a Band-Aid operation over the next 12 months, . . . until the new equipment arrives," Brown said at a board meeting held last week.

Brown said 12 months is the estimated time period it will take to address procurement of new equipment through the General Services Agency, including shipping time.

While the port will likely receive about $4.5 million worth of additional equipment, management and port users are concerned about operating the existing equipment over the next 12 months, Brown told board members.

The port maintenance division is working on repairing equipment. Several weeks ago, the port had all four top picks under repair for a few hours. "Of course that has a significant impact on our ability to move cargo," Brown said.

The port is hoping to buy two forklifts, a 10-ton forklift and a 20-ton forklift at a cost of about $400,000 to help accommodate more cargo, according to Joanne Brown, port general manager.

The port management said funds had been identified in the budget for equipment and requested the board’s approval. The board of directors agreed to use the funds to purchase the forklifts at a regular board meeting held last week Wednesday, July 1. The $400,000 was originally earmarked in the budget for the small projects category, Brown said. "I think the acquisition of yard equipment is the most critical," she said. "If we are not able to move cargo, we are essentially not able to meet our mission."

Brown said it may take about a year’s time before the forklifts will be in the yard because of the lengthy government procurement process. Additional equipment is needed to accommodate what will be an influx in cargo coming through the port as a result of the military buildup, Brown said at the board meeting.

Earlier in the year, the port identified $500,000 to purchase five additional tractors, also for cargo. The port hopes to get eight more tractors with federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture also, Brown said.

On average, the port is operating with 12 to 14 tractors a day, but that’s about half the capacity the port needs to support vessels, Brown said, adding that even if all three gantry cranes were operating, there would still not be enough tractor support to move cargo.

The forklifts will add to the port’s operational capacity. "As we’ve discussed in the past, it’s unfortunate that the port has not addressed timely procurement of needed equipment," Brown said.

The port had two 20-ton forklifts but now only one is operative, Brown said.

The next step is to prepare a bid packet for the equipment. The bid process will be handled by General Services Agency.

Recently the port was also able to operate gantry 4. It took contractor about four months to repair the engine partly because of delayed processing of a payment with another contractor consulting firm the port hired to assist with payments, Brown said.

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