February 3, 2022 – As a result of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement last year that California’s public ports will receive an allocation of funding from the state’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Port of Hueneme was awarded $2,337,563 in funds to help recover from revenue losses experienced in fiscal year 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The State Lands Commission administered the grant through a competitive process for California Ports and special districts.
ARPA funding is part of the state’s effort to invest in California ports that have lost revenue and experience increases in expenses directly related to COVID-19. The funding is intended to position ports with improved infrastructure as supply chain congestion challenges our economy. The Port of Hueneme serves 15 West Coast States, Hawaii and parts of Southwest Canada, with over 15,500 jobs that are supported by its active operations.
“Since the early days of the pandemic, the Port of Hueneme and other California ports have worked to ensure essential goods reach consumers, even as they faced abrupt and dramatic revenue shortfalls,” said State Controller and State Lands Commission Chair Betty T. Yee. “This funding is a game changer. It will restore financial losses while helping the port address supply chain constraints and invest in technology to improve the environment.”
“Our Port community showed amazing resiliency when the pandemic started,” said Mary Anne Rooney, President of the Oxnard Harbor District. “The brave women and men of ILWU Local 46 and all of our Port stakeholders kept cargo moving 24/7 despite the challenges. We really appreciate Governor Newsom’s efforts to invest in our Ports as this is also an investment in the future of zero-emission technology innovation, workforce development and infrastructure modernization.”
Auto manufacturing came to a complete halt in the last quarter of fiscal year 2020 and the Port’s auto manufacturers experienced a major setback in production. A routine week of receiving 4-6 auto ships at the Port, dropped to two vessels calls and in some cases zero. Other business sectors including fruit, fertilizer and project cargo weathered better and as such, the total loss in revenue to the Port in fiscal year 2020 compared to fiscal year 2019 was 3 percent. However, the loss in auto revenue was compounded by the increase in expenses of 8 percent and the state grant covers these impacts.
“Ports are critical to California’s economy,” said Lieutenant Governor and State Lands Commission member Eleni Kounalakis. “The funding the Commission dispersed is dedicated to preventing layoffs, retaining staff, and facilitating infrastructure investments that will benefit the environment and the economy.”
“This infusion of funding will help make the Port more solvent as it faced fiscal year 2020 losses in revenue from auto business impacted by COVID-19 and to help cover the surging costs in capital improvements from inflation and supply shortages,” said Kristin Decas, CEO & Port Director. “Our zero-emission electric crane infrastructure project that more than doubled in cost by the millions can now make it over the finish line with increased fiscal security.”
“The pandemic has significantly impacted the Port in a number of ways,” said Austin Yang, Port of Hueneme’s Director of Finance and Accounting. “This award will provide critical funding to help strengthen and expand our fiscal health.”