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Longview

Port of Longview exceeds expected revenue despite pandemic

Longview Port Q4 budget report

A graph from the Feb. 24 Port of Longview Board of Commissioners Quarter 4 budget report. 

The Port of Longview had a good year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with an $8.8 million net gain from operations through December, about $5.5 million higher than budgeted.

“We had a strong close last year, which we are delighted to see,” Port CEO Dan Stahl said.

The port had a better 2020 than 2019, with $1.3 million more in revenue.

The budget was presented at Wednesday’s board of commissioners meeting by Chief Administrative and Financial Officer Jennifer Brown.

The port budgeted $36.2 million in revenue for 2020, but ended up coming in 14% higher with $41.4 million. Expenses were slightly under budget, too: The port had planned for $32.9 million in expenses and spent just $32.6 million.

The port also spent about 73% of its $12 million capital budget, Brown said, and all capital projects were at or under budget this year.

Overall, the year was very similar to 2017, Brown said, when the port saw similar levels of income, and higher than last year when the port logged $7.5 million net gain from operations. 

Port Commissioner Allan Erickson said that while 2018 was a stronger year for the port, with $9.8 million in net gain, he also expects 2021 will be another strong year for the port.

Erickson said the year should be a “source of pride” for the staff and everyone at the port, to have “accomplished as much as we did in spite of that fact that we’ve had this pandemic to deal with.”

“I’m looking forward to the revenues we’re going to generate in 2021, with robust activity at Berth 9 with EGT (grain terminal),” he said. “It’s exciting to have those prospects.”

As usual, the port’s strongest segment was revenue from leased marine terminals, followed by income from marine terminals the port operates itself, Brown said. The port broke even on rental of its non-marine land, and was in the red for the community business line, as expected. That includes land like Willow Grove Park.

This year, the port lost money on logs and dry bulk imports, but still came out ahead after strong returns from calcined coke imports, steel imports, scrap steel and project cargo, Brown said.

Stahl said the year showed the variability the port sees in its customers. For example, the port usually makes money on log imports and often makes less on project cargo, but this year those numbers flipped.

“That’s the advantage to us having a diversified portfolio of customers,” he said. “When one customer is down, the other is up.”

Brown said all departments were on budget, while janitorial expenses were higher than projected due to COVID-19 sanitization needs.

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