The Port of Lewiston
by Elaine Williams
One financial measure of the Port of Lewiston has shown a loss for the fourth consecutive year.
The port experienced an operating loss of $501,234 in fiscal year 2016. The loss is a calculation of revenue and expenses at the port's container dock, a large warehouse, its rentals and a telecommunications network it is constructing, according to the port's annual audit.
One of the largest expenses was depreciation at $406,469, which has to be deducted as infrastructure ages, but is not real dollars going out the door.
The port experienced losses in the same category of $92,435 in fiscal year 2013, $445,497 in fiscal year 2014 and $401,917 in fiscal year 2015.
Port officials contend the losses are not an accurate picture of the port's overall financial health.
The port's net position was $24.3 million at the end of fiscal year 2016 and $21.9 million at the end of fiscal year 2013.
That number includes the port's capital assets, which were $19.6 million in fiscal year 2016 and $17.3 million in fiscal year 2013, according to an email from port Manager David Doeringsfeld.
It also contains the more than $400,000 the port receives each year in property taxes and more than $1 million in gains from property sales.
The port used to ship dried peas and lentils from its container dock until the overseas carriers that took them to their final destinations stopped calling on the Port of Portland. That service is expected to resume in the future, but it is "unlikely" to return during the present fiscal year, according to the audit. Plenty of cargo still originates in Lewiston at the Lewis Clark Terminal that handles bulk agricultural commodities.
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