Less activity, revenue at Port of Redwood City

The amount of construction material moving through the Port of Redwood City has dropped 15 percent, due to declines in new building across California.

Roughly 660,000 metric tons of material — primarily aggregates used to make concrete — were shipped through the port between July and December 2007, according to port director Mike Giari. It is a drop from the 776,000 metric tons the port saw during the same period in 2006 — half of the second-best year in the port’s history.

Although the port functions as a commercial site, it is also a department of the Redwood City government. In string economic years, such as 2004-05 and

2005-06, the port was able to contribute $590,000 and $610,000 to city coffers, respectively, according to city Finance Director Brian Ponty.

The decline this year could equate to a 5 percent to 10 percent decrease in the port’s revenues, which were $6 million last year, Giari said.

Construction of single-family houses declined 49.5 percent in November 2007 compared with November 2006, while construction of multi-family residential projects dropped 35.5 percent in the same period, according to a report from the Construction Industry Research Board.

Other economic factors are showing signs of trouble, according to John Grubb, spokesman for the Bay Area Council. The housing slump is not affecting local economies as sharply as those in the central valley, but a recent survey of 500 Bay Area CEOs revealed that 13 percent of their companies are planning layoffs, in part due to housing instability, Grubb said.

In addition, “for the first time, more people were saying things are going to be negative in the next six months,” Grubb said. “While 20 percent expect the Bay Area economy to improve, 30 percent expect it to decline.”

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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