Neat and tidy. That's Seattle's approach to budgeting, which is a model that other ports would do well to follow.
The budget for next year gives a very good indication of prospects for liner shipping serving the Pacific Northwest, and these are in the "good to excellent" range. Seaport operating revenues are budgeted at $99 million. Total operating expenses including corporate costs are $47 million. Net operating income before depreciation is $52 million.
Over the next five years, operating revenue is expected to rise at a compound rate of 4 percent to $110 million. Development plans for the year are: completion of construction of Terminal 10 and moving truck parking there from Terminal 25 South; reaching long-term agreements with cruise lines that currently utilize Pier 66 as a homeport; leasing Terminal 106.
Container operations are expected to bring in gross revenue of $65 million next year, rising to $77 million in 2015. Cruise and industrial docks will net $12 million in 2011.
Says the port's official statement on the maritime budget: "The seaport expects growth from container volumes, crane rental and lease revenues to drive 2011 operating revenue up 5percent relative to the 2010 budget. Container volumes are expected to increase about 12 percent compared to initial 2010 budgeted volume, but that increase will be slightly offset by a decrease in cruise revenue; the current schedule for 2011 cruise ship calls forecasts a 6 percent decline in passenger numbers. Critical 2011 Seaport initiatives include developing a stewardship plan for key division assets, implementing a Green Gateway strategy, and developing near- and long-term strategies for increasing revenues."
The capital budget for next year is $29 million, with container-related projects taking up $15 million and cruise operations $10 million. For the five years through 2015, the comparable figures are $54 million and 21 million.
Says the port statement:" Capital projects will include the replacement of crane cable reels at Terminal 5, replacement of a damaged fender system at Terminal 18, replacement of the storm water drainage system at Terminal 10, and purchase of land for future expansion of offsite container support yards to allow the port to handle up to 3.5 million annual TEUs. The port also has budgeted funds to modernize its grain terminal. Some $9 million is expected to be spent on transportation projects next year and $11.6 million on environmental improvements."
Only 60 staff are employed in the maritime division, which would seem to be astonishingly low, earning just under $8 million (including Workers' Compensation). But then the hundreds of dockworkers under the ILWU umbrella have to be counted, and one realizes where the big expenses are at the port.