When delving into the true economic centers in the great state of California, The Port of Hueneme is a prime centerpiece to review. This magnificent port is owned and operated by The Oxnard Harbor District, created in 1937, as an independent special district (business enterprise) and political subdivision of the State of California. Its proud mission is to operate as a self-supporting Port that enforces the principles of sound public stewardship, thus maximizing the potential of maritime-related commerce and regional economic benefit.
The Oxnard Harbor District’s policies are set by a five-member Board of Harbor Commissioners elected at large from the District. Day-to-day business operations of the Harbor District are administered by a CEO, Port Director and professional staff. Within these committees, this port shines with regard to its economic and business ventures.
The Harbor District, by its charter, can acquire, construct, own, operate, control or develop any and all harbor works or facilities necessary to efficiently accomplish its mission. This beautiful concept ineptly enables The Port of Hueneme to accomplish its business and economic goals efficiently. It prepares and controls its own budget, as well as fiscal activities, and is responsible for all Port construction and operations. These important governing aspects make it a centerpiece of thriving economic activity.
Magnifying on Harbor District
The Harbor District consists of three separate city elements. The City of Oxnard area maintains the highest population of approximately 181,000 people. Next, the City of Port Hueneme also maintains a decent population of around 22,000 people. Lastly, the unincorporated beach communities are considered.
The harbor’s Commissioners are elected by its passionate and reasonable voters of the Oxnard Harbor District at large.
To top it off, four-year terms are staggered to maintain continuity. These policies seem to work well with regard to the port’s economic interests.
Key Economic Engine for the Community
Much to the community’s pleasure, The Oxnard Harbor District collects no taxes – operating entirely on Port business generated funds. As a landlord port, commercial companies enter into operating agreements with the Port and thus help with regard to funding. The Harbor District pays significant amounts to the City of Port Hueneme for providing services necessary to support the Port’s activities.
The Port of Hueneme is vital in the intermodal logistics supply chain and significantly contributes to the economic health of Ventura County and Southern California.
The economic benefits include:
• Over $8 billion in cargo annually,
• Generating $1.1 billion in economic impact.
• $69 million paid in annual taxes.
• Providing more than 10,226 direct, indirect, induced and influenced jobs regionally.
• Top trading partners include: Austria, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, China, Ecuador, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Japan, Korea and Mexico.
The Importance of the TIGER Grant
The US Port of Hueneme is in receipt of a US$12.3 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant helping it to make a number of intermodal improvements to improve efficiency. With these added variables, The Port of Hueneme should see a substantial improvement with regard to its economic worth and business output.
Hueneme’s drastic intermodal improvement project will allow for larger-capacity vessels, increased cold storage and cargo handling capability supporting anticipated increases of agricultural imports and exports. It also includes plans for an on-dock rail to enable more efficient transfer of cargo by environmentally-friendly trains. These upgrades are most-definitely worthwhile.
Kristin Decas, port director, said: “This grant creates a catalyst for our future and promises to be a very big game changer for the port in terms of retaining our great customer base, building new opportunities, creating jobs and advancing environmental and energy efficiency priorities.”
The new port project integrates with the port’s phase II shore side power investments which aim to improve air quality and reduce berthed diesel fuel consumption by 67,458 gallons per year. Emissions reductions over the lifetime of the shore power project include a 92% decrease in particulate matter, 98% decrease in NOx and 55% decrease in CO2.
To balance the new water-side capacity and maximize the terminal’s utilization, the existing cold storage sheds adjacent to the wharf will be upgraded with efficient climate control, lighting and state-of-the-art perishable cargo treatment facilities.
Solar panel arrays will consequently provide power to the facility and other port systems which will help provide 250kW of energy.
The final portion of the intermodal improvement project will include the extension of the port’s rail spur to allow for on-terminal railcar loading as well as support liquid bulk transfer.
This rail spur expansion allows for a 24% reduction in truck volume for total liquid bulk imports further helping to support cargo transport, reduce noise pollution and enhance air quality.
Groundbreaking Environmental plans
When considering the huge economic and business benefits of a specific centerpiece, many times the environmental factors are overlooked drastically. When considering the massive environmental plans The Port of Hueneme has instore, the important environmental aspects are definitely not being ignored. To put this concept into perspective, the port’s environmental framework is a critical element of the port’s community engagement and ‘being a good neighbor’, by working closely with other community organizations and associations that foster sustainable economic development within the community.
Public engagement is achieved by soliciting input from the community residents and other stakeholders, to educate the public on the port’s environmental framework and success. Seeking partnerships to prosper environmental programs such as the clean air program, clean water programs and climate change energy programs.
These initiatives include fully implementing shore power program and the storm water improvement plan. Developing a long-range policy to incorporate climate change, sea level rise adaptation and resiliency with infrastructure investments, and promoting cleaner burning fuels usage for terminal, off-terminal and vessel operations.
The Port of Hueneme's 2020 Strategic Plan is a visioning document focused on the top priorities of economic vitality, marketing, environment, innovation and technology and strategic partnerships.
It provides a five-year planning horizon with a 20-year vision for operational, business and economic developments as well as a detailed plan of environmental objectives.
When considering any thriving business mecca, it is vastly important to maintain a decent respect for the area’s population, always strive to be environmentally considerate, and constantly ensure the added economic and business benefits. With regard to these aspects, The Port of Hueneme most definitely shines.