New London port study finds areas of potential economic development

The Adm. Harold E. Shear State Pier is the center of New London shipping trade.
The Adm. Harold E. Shear State Pier is the center of New London shipping trade. Conn. DOT

New London - The Connecticut Maritime Commission is expected to discuss a study that will guide the development of the state's deep water ports in New London, New Haven and Bridgeport at its next meeting on Nov. 21.

The commission met Wednesday at Fort Trumbull and briefly discussed the Connecticut Deep Water Port Strategy Study.

Commission member Bob Ross, executive director of the state's Office of Military Affairs, said Wednesday the study is honest and makes valid suggestions on how to improve the ports, which have been struggling as a result of the overall decline in the economy and the collapse of the housing market.

The study says New London could export more wood pellets and import lumber, copper, steel and fresh food. More should also 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.

Ross said a major issue, as the study notes, is that state investment has to be coupled with private investment. Another issue is governance and who would carry out the study's recommendations.

Fellow member Parker S. Wise of American Cruise Lines Inc. noted that the study merited further discussion so the commission as a whole could send out its views to the governor.

The next meeting is slated for 9:30 a.m. Nov. 21 at the Bridgeport Regional Vocational Aquaculture School at 60 St. Stephens Road.

i.larraneta@theday.com

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