The prospect of the privatization of the port of Guam drew 13 organizations to send representation for a mandatory three-day tour.

Several locally known companies and national and international corporations picked up a request for proposals for the lease or privatization of the cargo operations at the Jose D. Leon Guerrero Commercial Port and participated in the tour.

Joseph F. Mesa general manager of the Port Authority of Guam said “We made it a requirement that if they were really interested they would come and attend this. Basically it was to answer any general information questions. Questions that do arise out of the RFP need to be submitted in writing and then we will respond to those questions in writing but everyone who picked up a bid packet will get to ask questions and get the answers to those questions.”

A group of about 20 people crammed themselves into a port conference room on Monday May 2 to receive information packets and to hear presentations from the port authority regarding the 10-year lease.

The RFP stated “Included in the lease will be the container yard along with existing support structures such as gate complexes labor rest areas maintenance shops and stores and management and supervisory offices. Offerors are encouraged to propose improvements to these facilities with improvements to be made at the successful Offeror’s expense and subject to approval by the PAG.”

The RFP would also have the private company take care of the maintenance of port resources. “Along with gantry cranes the PAG will lease to the terminal Operator its existing container handling equipment tractors vehicles and forklifts and a mobile crane for use by the terminal Operator ” the RFP states. Employees will receive protection under the RFP. “The operation shall continue to utilize the existing labor force. The PAG currently has approximately 317 total employees in all departments.”

Among the documents representatives received were the port’s 2003 audit report. The agenda for the meeting included the introduction of port authority staff and the port’s consultant Mercator Transport Group an introduction of conference participants and of the request or proposals an explanation of the process. The port staff also fielded questions from the group.

John M. Robertson general manager of AmOrient Contracting and representative for Kellogg Brown & Root asked port staff for clarification regarding differences in employee numbers provided by the port authority.

According to Robertson one document indicated there were 132 employees while another indicated there were 179 employees. Mesa attributed the difference in numbers to the addition of employees affiliated with other agencies. “The 132 [figure] is correct ” Mesa said.

Potential investors participated in a brief half-hour bus tour of the commercial port’s facilities. The site tour continued on May 3 and 4.

DRT Consulting Guam Shipyard Horizon Lines LLC Hutchinson Port Holdings International Container Terminal Services Inc. Kellogg Brown & Root Inc. KwikSpace Guam Inc. Matson Navigation Company Pacific Trucking Inc. Portek Systems & Equipment Pte. Ltd Robert Salas Ethal SSA Terminals and Seabridge Inc. all picked up RFP packets and participated in the pre-proposal conference.

David R. Tydingco was not there as a representative of the Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association of which he is president but indicated on the sign in sheet under “Company ” DRT Consulting. He told the Journal he was there as an observer. When asked whether he was representing anyone he said “Not at this time — no.” Tydingco is a former general manager of the port.

• Among the notables from off island the Portek Group headquartered in Singapore was founded in 1988 and in the last 16 years has become acknowledged as a leading turnkey provider of equipment and services for the port industry worldwide.

Portek operates primarily in the Asia-Pacific region. Portek’s Web site indicates Portek owns and leases cranes undertakes crane modification and modernization is a system integrator of crane drives and automation and provides productivity solutions to ports while marketing crane components and spares.

Portek has moved into terminal operations as an extension of its equipment leasing and sales business. Portek has also entered into joint operation arrangements in some container and multipurpose terminals. “Portek sees a natural synergy between terminal operations and cargo handling and equipment leasing and maintenance and will be looking at other opportunities in terminal operation and cargo handling where appropriate ” the Web site stated.

• Another regional and international player Hutchinson Port Holdings develops and operates ports as well as applies technologies to strengthen the transportation and logistics portion of its business. HPH invests in the development of modern port infrastructure and according to its Web site at “is committed to playing a significant role in the development of the economies and the expansion of international trade opportunities for the countries in which it operates.”

HPH is responsible for the operation of 39 ports and operates 219 berths along with a number of transportation-related service companies. Its Web site said HPH invests in transport hubs and areas that either already support international trade or which have the potential to become key transport centers. “In doing so it provides local industry with a strong channel to world markets and also promotes the development of local market infrastructure.”

HPH also engages in training local staff and transferring best practices and proprietary leading-edge technologies it said. HPH uses information technology at ports in order to streamline the transportation supply chain making individual local markets more internationally competitive.

“HPH is a subsidiary of the diversified Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. and was formally established in 1994 to manage the group’s ports and related services worldwide. HWL is part of the Li Ka-shing group of companies. HWL’s ultimate shareholder is Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. ” the HPH Web site stated.

• SSA Terminals represented by Bob Garcia assistant vice president at the site visit earlier in May. SSA Terminals is “A Matson and Carrix Collaboration” According to SSA Marine lists its capabilities in transportation services to include terminal management stevedoring rail yard operations project development management technology system design installation and training equipment procurement marketing support trucking warehousing off-dock yard operations and feasibility studies.

The Web site said “Few transportation service companies in the world extend as far and wide as SSA Marine but we continue to look for new opportunities at ports and intermodal facilities around the world.”

SSA Marine is privately owned and operated. The company’s roots go back to 1949 when the Smith/Hemingway family established the Bellingham Stevedoring Co.

According to the Web site “Domestically SSA Marine has worked steadily to establish productive cargo handling and related operations in every major U.S. shipping region including the West Coast East Coast Gulf and several river operations as well as intermodal rail terminals across the country.” According to SSA Marine the company is involved in over 150 operations around the world. SSA Marine offices are located in Africa Asia and Latin America.

SSA Marine’s parent company is Carrix Inc. headquartered in Seattle Wash. Tideworks Technology and Rail Management Services are also subsidiaries of Carrix. Carrix has more than 30 strategic alliances that include customers competitors and partners in additional businesses. Through Tideworks Technology the company’s information technology capabilities support more than 40 marine terminals 80 shipping lines and 3 000 users.

• International Container Terminal Services Inc. was established in December 1987. ICTSI’s Web site at states “We have been cited by the Asian Development Bank as being one of the top five major maritime terminal operators in the world. The group also holds the title of being the first entity within the Philippine maritime industry to be ISO 9002 and ISO 14001 certified confirmations of our commitments to standards of excellence in all theaters our operations encompassing both front-line and back-up aspects of maritime facility development management and operation.”

According to ICTSI 11 years ago after building up the strength of the Manila International Container Terminal in the Philippines the company entered into an aggressive international and domestic expansion campaign.

The ICTSI Web site also said “We take pride in being a partner in the true sense of the word in the development and management of port operations around the world on behalf of governments divesting themselves of maritime port assets by various privatization vehicles and other means.”

ICTSI Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary managing foreign operations. The same people who spearheaded ICTSI’s foreign expansion run ICTSI Ltd. Regional representatives in Manila Dubai and Miami allow the company to respond quickly to investment opportunities it said. ICTSI is working on acquiring new terminal concessions in Asia the Americas Europe the Middle East and Africa.

The timelines indicated in the RFP showed the deadline for the receipt of questions to be May 19 and the deadline for proposal submissions June 3. If proposal discussions are required they will take place June 20 to 24. The selection of the preferred offer should be made by July 1 and negotiations will take place on Aug. 2. The deadline for the port authority to sign off on the contract is Sept. 2. The deadline for the Guam legislature’s oversight is Oct. 31 and the governor and attorney general will have until Dec. 30 to look over the contract.

Unlike the privatization of the Guam Telephone Authority where the contract was automatically approved after 30 days if the Guam legislature did not approve it the port’s contract will automatically be voided if it is not approved by the legislature in 60 days. MBJ