Port Authority recovering

As a good performance in 2002 is reported for the Port Authority, that vital facility finds itself facing challenges after the passage of Hurricane Ivan.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly last month, Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush updated the House on the Port’s post-Ivan’s recovery efforts while continuing to process relief imports.

Prior to Mr. Bush’s statement, Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson tabled the Port Authority’s 2002 annual report, showing the facility registered a double figure increase in tonnage and cruise passengers,, over 2001.

Following are the two presentations.

Mr. Bush

‘The Port Authority is one of the most important assets to the economy of these islands. The passage and results of Hurricane Ivan, again has proven how vital a role the Port plays in all of our lives.

The Port Authority was not spared from the brutal forces of the hurricane and suffered an estimated $1.5 million in damages. Severe flooding at the Cargo Distribution Centre left equipment and buildings inundated with saltwater. The wind damage was particularly severe to the warehouse facility which lost a portion of its roof. At the dock, the cruise terminals were damaged with the North Terminal particularly being hit hard. The Administration Building on the waterfront fared well, but the Dockworker Building sustained extensive damage. In addition, the cranes and other equipment suffered damages from the saltwater at the dock location.

The Port Authority has over the years experienced its share of inclement weather and has learned to recover expeditiously from the effects; being most aware that the survival of these islands depends on cargo imports. Through the heroic efforts of the staff, the Port was able to handle the first cargo ship on Thursday, 16 September, 2004 under less than ideal circumstances. These efforts from the staff continue, and their commitment has been unwavering, having worked with little time off over the last eight weeks.

The volume of imports has more than doubled since Hurricane Ivan and the Port Authority has had to use innovative measures to cope. The measures have proven very successful, however, the only disappointment point has been the slow rate at which the public is taking possession of their imports from the Cargo Distribution Centre. This has resulted in congestion as the Port Authority is receiving and processing the cargo at exceptionally fast rates.

In the last eight weeks, the Port Authority has handled 77 cargo ships carrying 88,668 tons of cargo, worked 646 ship hours and handled 11,861 containers (20-foot equivalent units).

In anticipating possible damages to the Port Authority buildings, prior to the arrival of Hurricane Ivan, arrangements were made with a local building contractor to be on stand-by to immediately effect repairs. These repair works began immediately after the Hurricane with concentration on having the cargo facilities online as the imports of relief supplies were deemed essential.

The South Terminal cruise facility, after repairs, was re-opened on 1 November to two cruise ships, the M/V Inspiration and M/V Imagination. The North Terminal is partially open while it continues to undergo repairs, and will be fully operational by the end of this month. The cruise schedule is now set for a maximum of four ships per day averaging over 12,000 passengers on four-ship days

The Port capital works have been set back some weeks. However, both main contractors are on site and works are continuing. The marine works being carried out by Misener is expected to be completed by the end of January, 2005, and the land based carried out by Hurlstone Construction largely complete by May 2005.’

Mr. Jefferson

‘The Port Authority continued to perform well during the 2002 fiscal year. Operating Income was up by 8.6 per cent over the previous year.

As the economy improved so did the tonnage of cargo imports, which was up 21 per cent over the previous year. The volume of cruise passengers also increased by 17 per cent over the previous year.

With this increased activity at the Port Authority, operation expenses increased by only 1.4 per cent over 2001 and the Port Authority continues to implement policies that drive efficiency and effectiveness.

Long term debt in the year 2002 was decreased by 21.86 per cent to $6,469,796 due to the scheduled repayment of loans. No new loans were entered into by the Port in the year 2002.

Net income before extraordinary items equalled $1,686,780 in 2002 as compared to $341,966 in 2001.

The year 2002 saw reconstruction repairs to the Cayman Brac Dock, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Mitchelle in November 2001. This was funded from the insurance claim. Plans were also set in motion to effect repairs to the Finger Pier of the George Town Cargo Dock.

In February 2002 the Salt Rock Dock in Little Cayman was formally transferred to the Port Authority.

The Port Authority paid an annual dividend to the Cayman Islands Government of $350,000 in 2002.’