Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shipyard Project Decision Postponed by Los Angeles Port

After more than four hours of debate on Wednesday, the governing board for the Port of Los Angeles decided to delay a decision on whether to extend an exclusive negotiating agreement with a firm seeking to build a $50 million shipyard at the port.

The port commission will take up the issue again on Aug. 19.

Officials from Long Beach-based shipyard operator Gambol Industries have spent more than a year trying to convince port officials that a shipyard utilizing a shuttered ship repair facility at the port would be viable. The port wants to fill in areas around the shuttered facility with sediments from an impending $96 million Army Corps of Engineers project to dredge the port's main channel.

After an appeal to Los Angeles City Hall by Gambol last year, the port commission and the Los Angeles City Council approved the dredging project with a provision that required the port to inspect Gambol's business plan before moving forward with the sediment dumping at the shuttered facility. The port eventually signed a negotiating agreement with Gambol, but the agreement is set to expire.

For its part, Gambol claims to have come up with a way to provide enough of the shuttered facility for the dredging sediment while still retaining enough waterfront area to operate as a shipyard. The port on the other hand is concerned that any delay in the dredging project, either due to negotiations or a change in the plans, could hamper the development of the China Shipping and TraPac terminals now under way.