In a matter of weeks, the Port of Tulsah has become the latest city to declare bankruptcy.
As the financial meltdown in the United States continues, some businesses in Tulsacas’ coastal region are finding it difficult to find jobs.
The town of about 30,000 is struggling to pay its bills, including a $5.8-million loan from the federal government to repair the port.
But the state’s economic slump has left Tulsas’ ports open to foreign vessels that ply their cargo across the country.
On Monday, a company called Sea Transport Services of the U.S. filed for bankruptcy, citing the economic downturn as the reason for its closure.
“This is not just a business that was unable to maintain its current operations, it is a business with a loss of nearly $1 million,” said Chris O’Donnell, Sea Transport’s chief executive officer.
The company, which provides a fleet of about 100 vessels to international ports including Los Angeles and New York, is also struggling to make payroll.
It is trying to rehire workers through a temporary staffing agency and a non-profit called the Tulsan Economic Development Corp. The government-funded loan is a drop in the bucket for Tulsans struggling to keep afloat.
“We are in a very difficult financial situation,” said Peter Parson, executive director of the Port Authority of Toms River.
“It’s not the people’s money, it’s not our money, and we are not going to take advantage of this situation to get more people working.”
The closure of the port could lead to economic woes for Toms County, which is home to about 1,500 people.
That includes a town of more than 7,000 people that relies on fishing, lumber, and agriculture to support its economy.
A year ago, the Toms, in the middle of a devastating wildfire season, lost about $600,000 in revenue.
The unemployment rate in Toms was more than 15 per cent last year.
But that figure dropped to 7 per cent by the end of February.
It was not the only time the region has been hit hard by the recession.
Toms also suffered from the 2008 housing crash and the global financial crisis.
Tonsville, the second-largest city in the state, lost $200 million last year, according to the Topsville Business Improvement District.
And while Toms and the other coastal cities in the T-Town region have experienced significant growth over the past few years, the city has not recovered.
“Toms is one of the few areas of the state that has not seen a significant increase in business activity in the past year or so,” said Matt McLean, a former Toms City Councilor and president of the T.B.I. District.
“As much as we want to believe we are a vibrant community, we are still struggling to attract new business.”
Toms has been struggling to stay afloat.
A new port has been proposed in the town, but it’s unclear whether that project will be built, O’Brien said.
The federal government has pledged to help the Tons recover, but the port still faces a long list of hurdles.
“In the next couple of months, we’ll get to the point where we can be competitive with other ports,” O’Connor said.
“But I don’t think we can.
We have to get over that hump.”