8/07/2018 — 

NORTH KINGSTOWN, RI – After successfully working to designate shortsea shipping between Rhode Island, Brooklyn, and Newark as a marine highway project in March 2018, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) today announced an $855,200 federal grant for the Quonset Development Corporation (QDC) to purchase new yard equipment that will assist the Port of Davisville with handling cargo and advancing this shipping alternative.  

“This grant is more good news for Quonset and Rhode Island.  Establishing a new marine shipping alternative on the Northeast Corridor has the potential to create jobs and to relieve congestion and wear-and-tear on our highways.  It also creates competition for the movement of freight in the region, which could ultimately lower costs for businesses and consumers,” said Senator Reed, the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Transportation-HUD (T-HUD) Appropriations Subcommittee.  Senator Reed worked to revive funding for the America’s Marine Highway program in fiscal year 2017 and to include $7 million for the program in the fiscal year 2019 T-HUD Appropriations bill, which the Senate passed last week.  “I was pleased to work with my colleagues in the Rhode Island delegation to support Quonset’s application to purchase new equipment that will help get this service off the ground.”

“We want to thank Senator Reed for his leadership on this initiative, and to Red Hook Container Terminal for their partnership in making this Marine Highway Project a reality,” said Steven King, QDC Managing Director.  “This grant funding will accelerate the recent growth at the Port of Davisville by enabling us to handle container shipping as a means of moving goods and will expand our capabilities in short-sea shipping.  It will also help us to add to the hundreds of jobs here at the Port.”

Marine highways are navigable waterways that can offer a cost-effective alternatives to the nation’s crowded highways and roads for moving freight or passengers.  Under the America’s Marine Highway program, the U.S Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Maritime Administration (MARAD) periodically designates additional marine highway projects, which will offer new or expanded shortsea shipping services and routes that have the potential to provide public benefits and long-term sustainability.  Once recognized by MARAD, a marine highway project receives preferential treatment for future federal grants and other assistance from DOT and MARAD.  

The Port of Davisville/Brooklyn/Newark service is a proposed container-on-barge service that will be operated by SEACOR AMH, LLC and will include a dedicated run twice per week with up to 800 TEU containers.  This service will operate in the Block Island Sound, Narraganset Bay, Long Island Sound, and East River.  Last March, Senator Reed announced the project in Rhode Island alongside MARAD Administrator Rear Admiral Mark H. Buzby, marine workers, and business leaders during a tour and visit to discuss federal funding for small shipyards and new opportunities for Rhode Island businesses.

This new federal grant will provide the Port of Davisville with one reach stacker, four yard tractors, and four bomb carts, which will help to facilitate the movement of containers at the Port and provide added capability to make the Port’s short-sea shipping service more efficient and competitive while also providing a viable alternative for freight shipping.  The grant will provide resources to help market this new service as well.

Senator Reed asked the rest of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation to join his letter to Administrator Buzby in support of QDC’s request for the funds..

More information on the America’s Marine Highway Program can be found here.