Sen. William A. Walaska yesterday offered his congratulations and compliments on the hiring by the Quonset Development Corporation of a Rhode Island firm to run the new container operation at the Port of Davisville.
The QDC announced the hiring of R.I. Port Services to handle the planned expansion of short-sea shipping at the port. Under the plan, for which improvements at the port have already been made, Davisville will become a feeder port, with shallow-draft barges used to bring goods from other container ports along the East Coast.
“I am first and foremost excited that a Rhode Island enterprise has been hired to oversee this new effort,” said Senator Walaska. “I am also very pleased that the direction the QDC is taking at the Port of Davisville is very much in keeping with the goals and initiatives that were outlined following nearly three years of study by a legislative commission looking into potential development and growth of Rhode Island’s port facilities.”
Senator Walaska served as co-chairman of the Special Legislative Commission to Study Potential Economic Opportunities in the Development of Port Facilities. In its final report issued earlier this year, the commission issued several recommendations that, the panel said, could lead to the creation of 1,000 new jobs, $70 million in personal income, $127 million in business revenue and $8.1 million in state and local tax revenue in the near future.
The General Assembly also this year approved legislation sponsored by Senator Walaska that authorized the Economic Development Corporation and the QDC to issue revenue bonds for needed dredging at the Port of Davisville.
“As our commission study found, Rhode Island’s ports hold the potential for enormous economic growth,” said Senator Walaska. “The Port of Davisville, especially, has the potential to seize upon tremendous opportunities in maritime job growth and the hiring of R.I. Port Services is an important step in that direction.”
Davisville is currently the eighth largest auto importer in North America. As a result of a $22.3 million federal grant in 2010, the port was able to purchase a mobile harbor crane and make other improvements to piers, roads and rails to handle the growth expected from short-sea shipping.
Senator Walaska said he hopes that, as recommended by the study commission, the QDC works in close cooperation with other ports in Rhode Island, including the Port of Providence, “to further facilitate job creation in this extremely vital segment of the state’s economy.”
Press Release, September 14, 2012