“It appears that the consultants produced a plan that told the commissioners and their staff what they wanted to hear.”

Concerns over Redwood Marine Terminal Business Plan
Mike Zeppegno/For the Times-Standard
Article Launched: 08/13/2008 01:27:20 AM PDT

I want to take this opportunity to voice my concern over the business plan from TranSystems for the proposed marine terminal. I have read all the various reports, plans, and proposals that are on the harbor district’s Web site. I have also followed the public discussions at the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District meetings, letters to the editor, and other pertinent info found in our local media. In my opinion the harbor district paid TranSystems $100,000 for a business plan that is short in providing essential details. It appears that the consultants produced a plan that told the commissioners and their staff what they wanted to hear. Objective analysis was not part of their deliverable. As I reviewed the business plan I could not believe how lacking it was in providing accurate analysis on projected harbor revenue streams. The district is looking at a $36 million project without the benefit of an objective cost analysis. Where is the basis for a return on investment (ROI)?

I worked for IBM for 24 years and spent another 15 years as a senior executive at a small computer hardware, software, and consulting company. During this time I have prepared, reviewed, and presented numerous business plans. If I produced the type of document being used as a proposal for the district in my work I would have lost credibility with my superiors.

The advice and training I received in my career in the technology industry stressed the need forquantitative analysis which included factors like pay back and return on investment (ROI).

I have listened to all the arguments on both sides: The need for jobs, environmental issues, growth versus no growth, and railroad viability. What it comes down to for me is the business plan makes no financial sense. The plan as submitted by TranSystems is too speculative. I was pleased to hear Dennis Hunter at the last HBHRCD meeting asking for more specifics from the consultants on whether jobs would go to locals, how the project would protect/improve the environment, and stimulate the local economy.

Questions like these, and accurate projections of trade through 2015, plus a real assessment on cruise ship traffic need to be addressed.

Read the rest of the story >