New London is one of three Connecticut ports targeted for economic development under a request for proposals issued by the state last week.
According to a press release from Gov. Dannel Malloy, the Department of Economic and Community Development, Department of Transportation, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Office of Policy and Management are coordinating on the development of deep water ports in New London, New Haven, and Bridgeport.
Ned Hammond, the city’s economic development coordinator and coordinator of the Foreign Trade Zone, said the development would apply to the State Pier. He said the pier is state-owned, although operations are run by the Logistec Corporation, and that it was designed for use by commercial and Navy shipping. Over the past 10 to 15 years, the pier has also become a port of call for cruise ships.
“Obviously it’s a good thing, and it’s nice to see that they have four different departments that are cooperating on the study,” said Hammond.
Hammond said the announcement comes on the heels of a needs and deficiencies report issued by the DOT at the end of September. This report outlines short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term goals for the State Pier. The initiatives include increased signing and marketing of the pier, improved road access, dredging, renovation of pier bulkheads, the construction of a 100,000 square foot transient-oriented warehouse, and the removal or relocation of a public access boat launch.
The RFP seeks to find the best way to provide these services. It calls for an analysis of best port use, a marketing plan, and the identification of needed infrastructure improvements to make the ports more competitive.
According to Malloy, the maritime industry and related activities account for about 30,000 jobs, $2.7 billion in Connecticut’s gross domestic product, and $5 billion in business output within the state.
“We already know that our maritime industry is a large and critical component of the state’s economy. What’s been missing is a solid understanding of the market in which our ports operate, and a detailed strategy for how the state can best partner with and support the ports within that marketplace,” said Catherine Smith, Commissioner, Department of Economic and Community Development, in the announcement. “The study will use a market-based analysis to guide public and private infrastructure investments to ensure we're doing the right things, in the right order, to position Connecticut's ports for realistic opportunities and achievable outcomes."