Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday released a Connecticut Deep Water Port Strategy Study
, which was commissioned to guide the development of a long-term economic development strategy for the deep-water ports in Bridgeport, New Haven, and New London.
The report, prepared by Moffatt & Nichol, said "despite its rich maritime history, the Connecticut ports and related maritime industries have not fared well in recent decades.
"Export volumes have grown modestly, while import volumes have declined by nearly 80 percent since 2006," the report said.
It added much of that decline is due to the phasing out of coal and elimination of fresh fruit imports into Bridgeport, as well as the loss of imports due to the real estate market collapse and the corresponding loss of demand for lumber, steel and other building materials that would have passed through Connecticut ports."
The report explained Connecticut ports do not have basic characteristics needed for success in handling bulk or container cargo. For example, the three ports don't have adequate waterside and landside capacity to accommodate ever-larger ships, longer trains, and larger volumes of heavier trucks or adequate financial resources to build, maintain, and constantly enhance capacity.
But it suggested the state can "identify local and niche cargo markets appropriate to one or more of its deep water ports. The state can provide adequate financial resources to reach or expand those markets. And the state can provide the institutional capacity that will result in a stable and adaptable investment climate, for both public and private investors."
"Market analysis did not reveal any potential for a significant container port. However, market analysis did reveal four existing business lines in need of retention and expansion efforts," wrote Moffatt & Nichol, including:
- Liquid bulk and related energy uses at all three deep water ports.
- Private ferry services at Bridgeport and New London.
- Shipyard and ship repair services at all three deep water ports.
- Dry bulk and break bulk cargoes at New Haven and New London.
The consultants said their market analysis also revealed four niche cargo opportunities for new business lines:
- Scrap metal exports from New Haven.
- Wood pellet exports from New London.
- Break bulk lumber, copper, and steel imports to New Haven or New London.
- Fresh food imports to New Haven and New London.
“This report is an important tool to strengthen the economic potential of Connecticut’s deep water resources,” Malloy said. “Expanding business development and creating jobs are keys to economic recovery, and this study highlights ways we can support our maritime industries and effectively compete for limited federal resources."
As a first step, the governor directed the the state's transportation department to use the study's recommendations in its solicitation for an operator at the State Pier in New London. The department had previously extended the current contract to await the results of the report. - Chris Dupin