We’re a go for the sub repair in Guam

MNDPI Pacific JV of Honolulu was awarded a $16,96 million firm-fixed-price task order Oct. 28 CHamoru Standard Time under a previously awarded contract for architecture-engineering services “to develop the design primarily for the construction of a new concrete fixed single deck submarine repair pier at Polaris Point Submarine Base, Guam,” according to a release from the U.S. Department of Defense. The task order includes one option which, if exercised, would increase the cumulative task order value to $29.8 million. Work will be performed in Piti and is expected to be completed by September 2024. Fiscal 2021 and 2022 military construction (Navy) funds were obligated at the time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Pacific made the award.

See “Guam to get Submarine Maintenance Facility,” on www.mbjguam.com.


In other MilCon news, WMEM JV LLC of Tamuning was awarded a maximum-value $20 million “firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contract for mechanical, electrical, and fire protection architect-engineer services for projects located primarily within the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Marianas area of responsibility,” according to a Nov. 4 release, CHamoru Standard Time. Work in various locations in Guam is expected to be completed by November 2027. Fiscal 2023 operation and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $335,754 were obligated at the time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured via the System for Award Management website, with two offers received, and was awarded by Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Marianas.

The joint venture is comprised of WM Engineering Services – a small business HUB Zone company – which was established in 1996 and has worked on various projects for the U.S. military, as well as construction management in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, and EMCE Consulting Engineers, according to WM Engineering Services.


Bilateral Palau-Taiwan visits continue; airline announces flights

Vice President Lai Ching-te arrived in Palau on Nov. 1 with a delegation for a three-day trip until Nov. 3 that “aims to boost the Pacific ally’s tourism and promote bilateral cooperation,” according to Taiwan media.

Lai said he hoped to further deepen bilateral collaboration between the two countries on diplomatic, tourism, medical, educational, and cultural affairs, according to Focus Taiwan.

Lai’s delegation included representatives of Taiwan’s leading travel agencies and travel agency associations.

In related news, China Airlines announced Nov. 1 it will add more flights to Palau from Nov. 16.

“The all new A321neo passenger aircraft will fly the route every Wednesday and Saturday,” China Airlines said in a release. Flights will carry 180 passengers, including 12 business class seats. The only airline currently flying the route from Taiwan, China Airlines began offering charters in 2008 and formal scheduled services in 2009.

In 2021, China Airlines partnered with Taiwanese travel agencies for the Palau tourism “bubble,” according to Journal files.


In other Palau news, A-10 “Warthogs” from the 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., deployed to Guam and will take part in a Pacific Air Forces “agile combat” deployment to Palau, according to the 23rd Wing’s commander.


Cost of Guam single family dwellings sees hike

According to Cornerstone Valuation, Guam real estate sales volume decreased in the third quarter of 2022, compared to a year ago due to rising interest rates. “However, the median prices of single-family dwellings and condominium units went up sharply,” Cornerstone said, compared to the third quarter a year ago, reflecting limited inventory. The median price of land dropped due to high construction costs, Cornerstone said.  See www.cornerstonevaluation.com  for the full report.


Matson’s Aloha Class Daniel K. Inouye made its maiden voyage in 2018.
Photo courtesy of Matson Navigation Co.

New ships will eventually appear in Guam

Matson Inc. announced Nov. 2 that Matson Navigation Co. Inc. has signed contracts with Philly Shipyard Inc. to build three new 3,600 TEU Aloha Class containerships for about $1 billion. The first vessel is due to be delivered in the fourth quarter 2026 with subsequent deliveries in 2027.

The three new ships will replace three vessels currently deployed in Matson’s China-Long Beach Express service, which calls in Guam and Honolulu on the westbound leg, necessitating Jones Act compliance in shipbuilding.

The TEU vessels are the fastest in Matson’s fleet, designed to operate at speeds in excess of 23 knots.

Like its current sisterships, the new vessels will be equipped with dual fuel engines that are designed to operate on either conventional marine fuels or liquefied natural gas, as well as other “green ship technology” features, such as a fuel-efficient hull design, double hull fuel tanks and freshwater ballast systems.


Your tax dollars at work   

Guam’s 2021 Gross Domestic Product increased 1.1% in 2021 after decreasing 11.4% in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The GDP increase is attributed to a 6.8% increase in private fixed investment, a 3.3% increase in personal consumption expenditure, and a 2.6% increase in government spending, according to a Nov. 3 release from the Office of the Governor.

In 2021, Private Fixed Investment on Guam was $1.6 billion — the highest amount on record, even when adjusted for inflation. This and increased personal consumption expenditure offset the difficult year Guam had with the lowest number of tourists due to global pandemic disruptions, according to the release.

“Guam’s Chief Economist Gary Hiles noted that policy decisions in both federal and GovGuam arenas to maintain government employment helped contribute to the stability of the GDP recovery. He also noted that the acceleration of vendor payments and tax refunds were also a direct stimulus into the economy, as were war claims payments …. .”

Between 2021 and 2022 year to date, $3.5 billion in awards from the Department of Defense for contracts performed on Guam has been made. Awards made in these two years were the highest on record. 

Building and Construction permits in calendar 2021 had a combined total value of $267 million. In the first eight months of calendar 2022, those permits have a combined total value of $471 million, meaning that the value of construction being performed was up by $208 million when compared to the 12 months in calendar 2021.


The Guam Office of Public Accountability released an analysis of Government of Guam leases. The report analyzes GovGuam office leases entered with commercial spaces as of June 30 and is a follow-up analysis of an OPA report issued in January 2017. This is also the third report on GovGuam leases that OPA has conducted.  In almost seven years, GovGuam has increased its annual cost for leasing commercial spaces (office and other) from $12.5 million for 493,097 square feet in fiscal 2015 to $15.7 million for 582,396 square feet in fiscal 2022, a difference of $3.2 million for an additional 89,299 square feet of space.  

The majority of GovGuam’s fiscal 2022 leases were for office space totaling $15.2 million in annual costs, while other commercial space totaled $422,000 in annual costs. Specifically:

  • The executive branch’s annual cost for leasing commercial space was $14.5 million for 519,094 square feet of space, with an average monthly cost of $2.32 per square foot.
  • The legislative branch’s annual cost for leasing commercial space was $384,000 for 21,422 square feet of space, with an average monthly cost of $1.49 per square foot.
  • The judicial branch’s annual cost for leasing commercial space was $796,000 for 41,880 square feet of space, with an average monthly cost of $1.58 per square foot.


See the full report at  www.opaguam.org.

Pacific Federal Management Inc. has competed construction of two concrete gate booths at the Port Authority of Guam.

The booths are the entry and exit points for inbound and outbound cargo and replace smaller corroded metal booths. Each booth has increased in size to improve functionality for operations with the expected lifespan of 20 to 30 years.

Construction of a third gate booth is ongoing and due to be finished by the end of November, at a total cost for the three booths of $159,557, funded by the Port Authority of Guam.


And also:

Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres pledged $100,000 to the Northern Marianas College Foundation, specifically for financial aid for immigrants without U.S. citizenship to enroll in the Northern Marianas College and earn a degree.


In other NMI news, the Office of the Governor, through the Office of Grants Management and State Clearinghouse distributed 50 pounds of short or long grain rice sacks on Nov. 3 in a drive-thru event for Saipan residential households at Koblerville Youth Center, Garapan Fishing Base and Kagman Community Center. About 1,000 to 1,250 sacks of 50-pounds of rice were due to be given out per location.


Administrative leave was granted for the NMI executive branch from 2 p.m. on Nov. 2 for All Souls Day. Nov. 8 is Election Day and thus a legal holiday in the NMI. See 1 CMC § 6508. All non-essential government workers are granted holiday leave on Nov. 8.


Thomas W. Krise, the 11th president of the University of Guam, “conveyed to the UOG Board of Regents and the University community that he will retire when his five-year term ends in August 2023,” according to a Nov. 1 release.


ANZ announced Nov. 2 it is winding down ANZ Guam Inc., following a recent agreement to sell most of its commercial and mortgage loans to Bank of Guam. ANZ will no longer provide banking products and services in Guam from Jan. 31, 2023.


Bella Wings Aviation drone service provider received its Guam Product Seal certification on Nov. 3.


Restaurant alert:

Roy’s Restaurant at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa released a new three-course lunch menu Nov. 1. The menu will include new savory appetizers, such as pork and shrimp pillows and chicken spring rolls and new entrée options such as agedashi tofu, spinach mushroom tortellini and Singaporean pepper shrimp, as well as some popular signature dishes.  

Roy’s also is introducing a five-course Sunday brunch menu. The five-course weekend brunch menu is priced at $65; includes Roy’s signature bread and Olive tapenade and beverage selection such as sparkling wine, Heineken beer, coffee, tea or iced tea. The wine pairing package is priced at $32 per person and deluxe cheese platter at $10 per person.

For more information, call 671-646-DINE (3463). mbj