Monte M. Mesa chairman of the Port Authority of Guam and general manager of the Guam Premier Outlets; told the Journal that the port will be requesting proposals to update its master plan.
"The port is getting input from its stakeholders and the community on how to make the plan more achievable within the short mid and long term plans because there’s different components of the development of the port that should be achieved in the next three years which is namely getting in a brand new crane."
Mesa said another one of the goals would be to procure brand new equipment to support efficient customer service that all the port users want and expect to have from the port facility.
The last time the plan was updated was in 1999 and then ratified in 2000.
A final request for proposals is scheduled for release in March to select a qualified consulting firm to put together the proposed master plan update. "To accomplish that were going to do two things. One is to send out a request for proposal and solicit interest. Two hold a port symposium to bring in people within Guam that are able to speak with authority in regards to how the master plan could be shaped to take us into the next 10 years." The goal of the symposium would be to help the selected consultants to investigate and research the recommendations.
The plan will emphasize development of the Cabras Industrial Park. Mesa said a request for proposals would be released to develop the "Forty-two acres of prime real estate at the Port Authority of Guam and put in the infrastructure and buildings needed to support the port operations and related services."
The master plan will also look at rejuvenating Guam’s fishing industry. Mesa said at one point Guam had more than 2 000 fishing boats that came through the harbor and generated significant revenue for the port.
Mesa also said "I foresee Guam being the new Caribbean of the Pacific. We need to develop the port’s facilities to accommodate those cruise ships in the degree that people expect when they pull into a port especially in the Caribbean where it’s attractive."
According to Mesa the cruise industry is a $1 billion industry. "If we get only 1% of the $1 billion industry that would translate into a $500 million industry for Guam in taxes."
He said that the update is a prudent thing to do for any organization that is moving its business forward into the next years. "You need to have a business plan or in government terms a master plan. It’s basically a business plan for the port from a private sector viewpoint."
The port has been criticized in the past for not moving forward with the previous plan. Mesa said "It was a different scenario. They were faced with different sets of circumstances i.e. storms; i.e. earthquakes; i.e. 9/11. Everything changed the picture of what was visualized last time. They were embarking in the right direction but lacked the resources to execute because of challenges both man-made and mother nature."
With the expected boom in the economy in relation to the relocation of 8 000 Marines to Guam Mesa said it is the right time to pursue the points in the updated plan. "There’s a little bit more confidence for the developers and the people that have the investment dollars it is a better position for them at this point." MBJ