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The governor released a study Thursday that he says will guide the development of the state's deep water ports in New London, New Haven and Bridgeport.
The Connecticut Deep Water Port Strategy Study, commissioned by the state Department of Transportation, recommends how to protect existing commercial operations at these ports and identifies new opportunities for business growth.
"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," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement. "By examining both short- and long-term options, we are in a better position to accelerate economic activity at all of our ports."
The director of New London's Office of Development & Planning, who has yet to read the entire nearly 200-page study, said it appears to be positive for all the state's ports.
"It's not being critical. It's looking at the means for how to better serve the state's maritime needs,'' Kristin Havrilla Clarke said. "It's a blueprint for the city and state to work together ... and talk about how we can expand our markets, utilize that space better, and tangentially, work with the Port Authority so they can put together a harbor plan."
The report also recommends the state put out a Request for Proposals for an operator of State Pier in New London.
But retired Coast Guard Capt. Chuck Beck, the transportation maritime manager for DOT, said contracts with Logistec Corp., which operates the pier, and Thames River Seafood, which works out of the pier, have been extended to 2016.
"The current lessees are not going anywhere short-term," Beck said. "And maybe not for the long term. I anticipate both will provide responses to the RFP and could remain at the pier.''
The study says New London could export more wood pellets and import lumber, copper, steel and fresh food. More should be done to retain and expand the dry cargo business, liquid bulk and related energy uses, shipyard and ship repair services and the private ferry services, the study says.
State Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford, said the study is "a very promising report for the future of the State Pier in New London."
"It's an opportunity to grow jobs around our port," she said Thursday. "As we look forward to the economy improving, it's my hope we'll see more products coming in, such as the type they're recommending."
The state hired Moffatt & Nichol, a port and harbor adviser, to look at what commodities are moving in and out of the state, the origins and destinations of the cargo, how goods reach their destinations, the players who decide the routes of major cargo, how the ports compare to their competitors and shipping trends.
Connecticut's maritime industries and related economic activity account for more than $5 billion in business output within the state, including more than 30,000 jobs, and about $2.7 billion of the state's gross domestic product.