After a record year, the Port of Hueneme is taking the wraps off a program it hopes will spark innovation in saltwater technology.
Called MAST, short for Marine Advanced Systems and Technology, the program will create an innovation hub of sorts for companies to test paint, products and devices for their ability to operate in marine environments.
“We describe it as a test incubator for entrepreneurs,” Port Director Kristin Decas told about 250 community leaders at a Nov. 5 California Lutheran University Corporate Leaders Breakfast in Ventura.
Decas described a record year for the nation’s 28th largest port, which posted revenue of $13.6 million and put $1.2 million of that into its reserves.
The port is well known for importing bananas, including some 600,000 tons last year. On a revenue basis auto imports, up 20 percent last year, are its biggest money maker; the port has about $1 billion in economic impact on the regional economy.
The port is starting to make headway with exports, shipping 25,000 cars last year, including 800 Cadillacs to Korea. And it is starting to generate shipments from local Ventura County growers.
Decas also said that Ugg brand parent Deckers Outdoor Corp. of Goleta will begin using its foreign trade zone to generate duty-free revenue and it announced an internship partnership with CLU. Earlier in the program, CLU President Chris Kimball said the Thousand Oaks-based university is in the process of acquiring a Lutheran seminary operation in Berkeley.