AAPA Seaports Advisory

Finance: Bellingham, Palm Beach

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Bellingham: Bond Refinancing to Save the Port $860,000

The Port of Bellingham is refinancing the balance of a $5 million bond issued in 2005 to cash in on historically low interest rates and reduce debt payments by $860,000 during the next 10 years.

"The port is always looking for ways to reduce costs and operate more efficiently, and this was an excellent opportunity to take advantage of strong market conditions to lower our interest payments and save money," said Port Executive Director Rob Fix.

Moody’s Investor’s Service on April 13 assigned an Aa3 rating to the port’s Limited Tax General Obligation Refunding Bonds, 2016. Moody’s said the rating "reflects the port's large tax base, above average resident wealth levels, healthy financial position, manageable debt and pension burdens, as well as the additional operating risk inherent in the port's business compared to that of many other types of local governments."

"The port’s strong bond rating is continued national recognition that the port, with leadership and direction from its board of commissioners, continues to practice excellent fiscal management and implement financial plans to assure the port’s long-term fiscal stability," said Mr. Fix.

Palm Beach:  Port Earnings Skyrocket in March

The Port of Palm Beach reports net income for March 2016 soared 354 percent from a year ago to $555,780. That equates to 51.2 percent of the $1,085,600 profit the port had budgeted for the FY 2015-16. As of March 31, the port was just $42,089 shy of its annual target. The port’s fiscal year runs from October 1 through September 30.

During the month of March, the port processed container 24,170 TEUs, 7,208 short tons of break-bulk materials, 17,230 tons of utility fuel oil, 29,191 tons of molasses, 72,900 short tons of sugar, and 178 vessel calls.

"The port has certainly had an exceptional month," said Port Commission Chairman Wayne Richards. "This extreme increase in income is due to year over year increases in break-bulk, fuel oil, sugar and molasses, all of which saw over 50 percent increases. I congratulate our port’s executive team and staff on its efforts to continuously increase business and throughput while keeping expenses to a minimum."



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