Guam – The Port Authority of Guam Board of Directors, management and staff conducted a final walk through of the historical Warehouse II this morning before the start of its demolition next week.
The demolition of the 100-square-feet warehouse is part of the port’s $50 million Capitcal Improvement Project, which is to accomodate Guam’s growth as well as the increase in cargo from the anticipated military build up.
Since the port was constructed in 1969, there were no major upgrades with the facility. According to the modernization plan, some of the port areas are “near capacity, congested or unusable.” PAG revealed its master plan in 2008 to upgrade its facilities to world class standards. In August of this year, PAG announced the award of $1.39 million contract to SmithBridge Guam, Inc. for this Phase II of the project.
General Manager of the port Joanne Brown had mixed emotions about the demolition. She said building a facility like Warehouse II would cost millions of dollars today and could see the 45-year-old warehouse lasting for another 45 years.
“I have mixed feelings. I’m not entirely thrilled about the fact that we have to tear it down but we have to move forward and that’s where the port is going. It has to be done. It is going to expand our Break Bulk Yard by 9 acres, which is significant.” Brown said. “We will be able to contain it in one area versus now where we have it in different parts of the port’s complex. It will make it more functional.”
General Manager of the Port from 1964-1978 Joaquin Perez also has his reservations. “I disagree with the project because Warehouse II is a valuable asset. It is bomb-proof and can be used as atomic shelter. It would’ve been more efficient if the container yard was extended. The Port cars all parked outside can be inside the warehouse in case of emergency for example,” expressed Perez. “It you want greater efficiency, this is not the way to do it.”
Brown said part of the project also includes physical improvements to the port as well as better security and more efficient operations.
Operations Manager John B. Santos said the Capital Improvement Project includes three phases. With over 90 percent of the goods consumed by the residents going through the port, he emphasizes the importance of the port’s operations. He said that the biggest challenge so far is working with the contractors in ensuring that with all the construction going on, there are no restrictions of cargo moving in and out of the port.
“As part of the orignial master plan, it would’ve been keeping Warehouse II and expanding the container yard more than 1,000 feet but there’s a total reset of the whole modernization. The military also played a big role and right now, with the $50 million, tearing down Warehouse II is what we looked at because it would cost more for extension,” said Santos.
The anticipated completion date for the project is July 2015 and most of the physical changes will happen in the next year. The project is fully funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and administered by U.S. Maritime Administration and Port of Guam.