It is premature to celebrate the new Offshore Inland Marine project at the Port of Pensacola. Something good is always about to happen at the Port but rarely does. The City has to wait at least three years to find out how this project turns out. Meanwhile, where is Offshore Inland going to get $10-$12 million for construction? They are sometimes behind in lease payments on their existing contract with the Port.
Has the City done “due diligence”? Has Mayor or Council obtained an independent analysis of Offshore Inland’s business outlook, finances (including borrowing power), management, past history with similar projects, et cetera?
Participating in Gulf rig activities would be a great niche for our Port. However, competition is keen. Based on the events of the last 25 years, it is questionable that we can play in the same game with 10 other Gulf ports.
Pensacola should retain a limited deep water cargo capability at the south end of the port. Other parts of the property can be opened up to private development and to the public. Emphasis should be on safe and convenient public access to the waterfront. Easy citizen access to the waterfront is key to further downtown revitalization.
The Port is a loser, but local leadership lacks courage to take decisive action. As a result, the downtown renaissance is also losing.
C. C. Elebash