Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Firm Envisioning Shipyard Warns Los Angeles Port

A Long Beach firm seeking to convert an abandoned Port of Los Angeles shipyard into a modern ship repair facility has threatened possible legal action against the port claiming port officials have been undermining the firm's $50 million project.

Gambol Industries, Inc. has been working for more than a year to move forward with the $50 million plan to re-develop the shuttered South West Marine shipyard along the main channel of the port into a modern ship repair facility. The firm, which claims it has a solid business plan that would create hundreds of jobs at the proposed facility, has faced stiff criticism from the port, shipping industry, and longshore unions. However, under pressure from Los Angeles City Hall, the port signed a memorandum of understanding with Gambol last year to consider the development of the ship repair facility.

Despite the MOU, the Port of Los Angeles has maintained that the Gambol plan could seriously delay an Army Corps of Engineers channel deepening project and ongoing terminal development at the port. The port wishes to use the existing shipyard slip to deposit dredge material from the Army Corps project.

However, Gambol has proposed that the dredge material be sent to the neighboring Port of Long Beach's Middle Harbor project as landfill. This would save Los Angeles the $30 million cost to build a retaining dike at the shipyard, according to Gambol, and free up the shipyard for development into the ship repair facility.

Long Beach port officials shot down the idea last month, stating in an Oct. 18 memo that Los Angeles port officials had failed to respond to a Long Beach port request for design plan for the reuse of the Los Angeles fill material in Long Beach.

In an Oct. 27 letter to officials at both ports, a Gambol attorney claims that Los Angeles port officials purposely failed to submit the design plan to Long Beach in an effort to undermine the Gambol project.

The Gambol letter goes on to claim that the firm has lost million of dollars in development costs due to the port's actions and warns that Gambol will seek all "available remedies" for what the firm's attorney describes as "the port's conduct, actions and/or inactions, and numerous violations of the MOU."