HARTFORD — A California firm has been chosen to prepare an in-depth study of the state’s three deep water ports, which already are responsible for 30,000 jobs and some $2.7 billion in state gross domestic product.
Moffatt & Nichol will be charged with developing a strategic plan to grow maritime industry jobs, as well as a marketing analysis and general economic development plans.
The global company, which has 27 offices around the world, also will address such on-going issues as the slow federal process and underfunding of maintenance dredging.
Representatives of the three ports were invited to sit in on interviews with candidates for the study and gave input from a local perspective.
Moffatt & Nichol will receive up to $477,179 for the study, which is due before June 30. The state said the firm has more than 60 years experience in port and harbor development.
Hartford-based BETA Group, Inc., a local engineering, planning and environmental services firm, also will serve as a subcontractor on the project.
“This is very exciting,” said New Haven Port Authority Executive Director Judi Sheiffele. It’s an indication of the state’s commitment to the ports and recognizes them as true assets, she said.
Sheiffle said it should also help attract federal, state and private investment.
The ports in Connecticut generally have been neglected as development assets, although tourism has picked up at the New London port and progress is being made on enhancing the rail-water connection in New Haven.
The relationship among the ports has been more collegial in recent years, rather than competitive, and the study is expected to promote that, according to officials. Continued...
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Sheiffele said the state is putting out bids in late winter for the reconstruction of Waterfront Street in New Haven that will complete rail crossings to the edge of the terminal properties there. The plans were scheduled to go forward in 2009, but stalled when state funds dried up.
A container barge project in Bridgeport never advanced after the Port of New York and New Jersey rejected its methodology for moving freight, and New Haven determined, after a study in 2008, that the export market wasn’t robust enough to justify a project here.
Bridgeport’s long-delayed dredging process remains in limbo over a dispute as to where to dispose of a portion of the spoils. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, while a candidate for the office, came out in opposition to burying them off Morris Cove in New Haven Harbor.
New Haven has several proposals it has supported over the years, including an upgrade of tanks, pipelines and pumping facilities at the north gate of New Haven Terminal. A bulkhead along the eastern side of the Quinnipiac Rivier off Forbes Avenue is also on the wish list.
Greenleaf, a biofuels company, which originally planned to locate in the North Yard, is currently building a facility in New Haven Terminal at its southern gate.
The city has said the location of New Haven’s port at the junction of Interstate 95 and Interstate 91 and the availability of rail service gives it a logistical boost.
Malloy, in a statement said, the maritime industry is a “vital piece of our state’s economy,” but without a comprehensive strategy going forward, won’t be able to identify best chances for development.