GUAM – From performance reports of publicly traded corporations to the latest happenings at local upstarts and every size company in between, Guam Buildup News presents a weekly roundup of notable news for the island’s business community.
Iron Bridge Housing Partners and the non-profit company Micronesia Self-Help Housing, Inc. announced the opening of Ironwood Heights, the newest rental community on Guam, located on Ypao Road in Upper Tumon.
Ironwood Heights has 132 rental units, with 12 one-bedroom, 68 two-bedroom and 52 three- bedroom units. The housing complex, which will include six ADA accessible units, will be completed in two phases and will feature a community center, outdoor gazebo and playground.
The units are expected to rent for $498 (one-bedroom), $608 (two-bedroom) and $676 (three- bedroom).
The developer, which has been able to offer rentals priced below market through a low-income housing tax credit program authorized by U.S. Congress, has completed other Guam communities as well. Ironwood Estates, Ironwood Manor and Ironwood Glen encompass 303 houses along Starts Golf Course in Dededo.
Horizon Lines announced it will discontinue its trans-Pacific container shipping service between the U.S. West Coast, Guam and China. Its final sailings to Guam will be on Nov. 8 and 10.
The so-called Five Star Express service opened in December last year. It offers rapid eastbound transit between Ningbo and Shanghai in China and Los Angeles and Oakland on the U.S. West Coast. The westbound leg of the FSX service provides transit between the U.S. West Coast, Guam, Micronesia and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Eastbound freights from China to the United States have fallen more than 37 percent in the last 12 months and bunker fuel prices have climbed more than 40 percent, a company release stated. The continued delay in the military buildup program for Guam, which is currently exacerbated by budget crises in both the U.S. and Japan, has postponed expected cargo growth for the region, the company said. “Revised Japanese priorities in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami earlier this year,” are also a concern, the company said. Without an eastbound return voyage from China, all these conditions make Guam trade “no longer financially viable for Horizon Lines.”
Shipping company Matson rallied on the news of Horizon Line’s closing to reassure customers in Guam, the Marianas and the rest of Micronesia.
“We will do what is necessary to ensure that all Guam cargo currently moved from the U.S. will be efficiently accommodated, without compromising the service standards that Guam’s business community knows today,” Dave Hoppes, Matson senior vice president of ocean services, said in a company release. “That commitment extends to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.”
The company says it has the vessel and equipment capacity needed to handle current volumes and maintain service levels without the need to deploy more of its fleet.
Matson provides ocean transportation services to Hawaii, Guam, China and Micronesia, as well as logistics services through its subsidiary, Matson Logistics. Matson is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. of Honolulu (NYSE: ALEX).
GTA TeleGuam will expand service outside of Guam for the first time to provide telecom services in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The company received approval to begin offering services from the CNMI Public Utilities Commission last week, according to Dan Tydingco, executive vice president of external and legal affairs for GTA, but so far GTA does not have a set date to begin operations.
The company must negotiate an interconnection agreement with IT&E, the dominant phone service provider in the CNMI. GTA must purchase wholesale network services from IT&E, which can then be resold to consumers.
A charter flight from Dalian, China to Guam is expected on Jan. 24, 2012. Holy International Travel Service Company Ltd, which met with officials from the Guam Visitors Bureau during the National Tour Association road show in China, has plans to bring about 150 tourists on the flight.
Tourist numbers from China to Guam climbed month-to-month last fiscal year, ending with a 32 percent increase over fiscal year 2010, according to Joann Camacho, Guam Visitors Bureau general manager.
United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL), the holding company for both United Airlines and Continental Airlines, hosted its first Sales and Marketing meeting on Guam last week at the Outrigger Guam Resort and Hyatt Regency Guam.
50 regional managers from throughout Asia met to discuss the new United Airlines strategy for the region. Participants came from offices in Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Philippine, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Australia.
United’s vice president of Asia/Pacific, James Mueller, called Guam a “focal point for our Asia/Pacific network,” and noted that the island offers “a growing potential for the new United” as an “important vacation destination,” according to a company release.
The Sun Princess, an Australian-based ship in the Princess Cruise Lines fleet, brought 2,791 visitors to spend a day on Guam last week. The vessel arrived in the morning and departed for Papua New Guinea in the evening the same day, after passengers spent a few hours shopping and sightseeing around the island. Before visiting Guam, the Sun Princess also made stops in Brunei, Malaysia, China, Vietnam, Korea and Japan.
The ship’s voyage began in Australia on Sept. 21; it will return to Brisbane on Nov. 2.
GuamWEBZ, a Guam-based web development company, has launched its Pacific division, PacificWEBZ. The new division will serve Guam’s neighboring island entities, including the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and Fiji. PacificWEBZ will offer website design, website support and management, web-based marketing, and customized software applications.
Community Event – Sixth Annual Triple J 5K
Triple J Enterprises, Inc. announced the sixth annual Triple J Auto Group 5K on Saturday, Nov. 5. Proceeds will be donated to Sanctuary, Inc. and the Oasis Empowerment Center.
Showtime for the run/walk is 5:15 a.m., and start time is 6:00 a.m. The racecourse will start and end at Triple J’s Tamuning (Honda) location beside McDonald’s. Registration costs $7 per person (before race day) and $10 per person (on race day). Groups that register before race day pay $5 per person, provided all team members register together.
For more information, contact Chris Unpingco, marketing manager at Triple J Enterprises, Inc., at 648-6004.
Community Event – The Gift of Christmas
The Guam Chamber of Commerce announced “The Gift of Christmas” is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 26 at Skinner Plaza in Hagåtña, beginning at 4:00 pm. The Chamber’s 19th annual Christmas festival will feature holiday lights and displays, entertainment, kid-friendly activities and cultural delicacies, among other attractions.
Community partners First Lady Christine Calvo and the Guam Visitors Bureau help to host the annual festivities.
For more information on festival participation, contact the Guam Chamber of Commerce at 472-6311/8001 or Festival Committee Co-Chairs Kristine Lujan at 688-5845 or Tes Reyes at 687-8525.
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