VIDEO: Ground Finally Breaks on Port Modernization Effort

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Guam – Ground finally broke this morning [Wednesday] on the Port of Guam’s modernization efforts.

Port officials were joined by the Governor, island lawmakers, military personnel and other local and federal officials for the ceremony which marks the first comprehensive upgrade to Guam’s only commercial Port since it was completed in 1969.

A total of  $105 million dollars is available for a variety of upgrades, but the first phase will involve about $50-million dollars of funding from the Department of Defense. The U.S. Maritime Administration [MARAD ] will be administering the projects and the funding that is paying for the upgrades.

Port Board Chairman Dan Tydingco told PNC News this morning that the first project will be the re-building of the Container Freight Station where cargo is stored after being off-loaded from ships.

“This is a good investment for the community by our federal partners outside the fences of the Naval Station and Andersen Air Force Base,” said Tydingco.

 Governor Calvo in his remarks said “We are proud to be taking action with a sense of urgency for what is in the best interests of Guamanians”

READ the release from the Governor’s Office below:

“We are proud to be taking action with a sense of urgency for what is in the best interests of Guamanians. My thanks to the men and women of the port for making this happen, despite all the obstacles.” – Governor Eddie Baza Calvo

Port Construction Begins                                                                                           
Construction to modernize the commercial port began this morning. This is the first time Guam’s only seaport is being modernized since it was built in 1969. When complete, the renovated and expanded port will be able to move more cargo through its docks, at a faster rate.

Work Starts at Container Freight Station    
                                                            
The Governor, along with the Port Strong family, today celebrated this long-awaited start to the modernization effort at a groundbreaking ceremony. Construction is starting at the Port Container Freight Station, where selected cargo containers are placed after coming off the ships.

Total Cost, Time, and Scope of Modernization      
                                            
About $105 Million in construction will occur over the next three to five years to renovate and expand port facilities. This includes:

*  Expanding wharf space for larger vessels and to handle increasing vessel capacity;

*  Expanding existing facilities;

*  Upgrading the Terminal Operating System to allow automated invoicing, cargo and container tracking, and financial and maintenance management.

*  In 2013 alone, the port will be renovating the Container Freight Station, modifying selected areas of the Break Bulk yard, and expanding the container yard and the Gate House Runway.

Worker Expresses Pride                                                                                            
Stevedore Robert Meeks, a 20-year veteran on the port’s docks, expressed his happiness and pride about the start of the modernization effort: “It’s a good thing for the port authority and a good thing for Guam. We’re on the front line of anything being delivered here to Guam. I’m just glad that things are happening like this. I feel great working here now because we’re getting these things. Port Pride! Port Strong!”

About this Effort                                                                                                            
Almost everything we consume comes from off island, over 90% of which arrives through the port. Repairs and upgrades have been needed for some time now. News of the military buildup caused rapid movement as some feared the port – if left in its current state – would be a chokepoint, unable to move cargo quickly enough through its docks. Federal partners became involved. The U.S. Department of Defense granted the port $50 million for modernization efforts. This grant is managed by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration.