Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Controller Wendy Greuel announced findings from the city’s latest audit — an Industrial, Economic, and Administrative review of the Los Angeles Harbor Department. The audit emphasizes that the Port of Los Angeles continues to be a leading economic driver and gateway for container cargo entering America. It also shows that the Port would benefit from process improvements to increase transparency and ensure continued competitiveness.
“The Port of Los Angeles is an economic engine not only for the City, but for the nation as a whole and it is imperative that we manage it efficiently and effectively,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “The survey clearly shows that the Port is working diligently to stay on the cutting-edge of new technology, while taking the steps necessary to ensure we remain competitive during the lead-up to the expansion of the Panama Canal and the increased competition that will accompany that.”
Villaraigosa and Greuel are optimistic about the future of the Los Angeles shipping industry and praised plans already put in motion by the San Pedro Bay Ports in the latter stages of 2010 to address issues of competitiveness and improve customer service.
Despite the strong picture the report painted of the Harbor, Greuel acknowledges that the upcoming years will bring with them new competitive challenges.
“In 2014 the expanded Panama Canal will open for public use. This new avenue for Pacific shipping challenges the status of the Los Angeles Ports as the premier destination for Pacific cargo coming into America, so we need to increase transparency and make the Port of Los Angeles as competitive and accessible as possible,” said Greuel.
The audit revealed that the Port needs to improve internal processes to ensure that Harbor development projects are clearly defined to provide transparency in budgeting and scheduling. Project costs totaled over $116 million, compared to initial work orders of just under $20 million, due to changing project scopes and requirements.
“The Port has done much to clean up the air, reduce traffic congestion, and complete the San Pedro Waterfront project,” Greuel said. “However, the Port could do more with greater transparency and process improvements.”
Villaraigosa and Greuel called on the Department to immediately revisit its policies on change orders and project management to minimize costs and delays in the future.