Gateway excited to help transform State Pier into economic engine
While Gateway may be a recent addition to State Pier in New London, our roots in Connecticut run deep. We were founded in 1985 and have grown into the largest port operator in the state, handling nearly 90 percent of the dry and breakbulk cargo that moves through Connecticut's three deepwater ports. In addition to managing the New Haven and New London terminals, we own and operate a fleet of eight U.S. flagged Jones Act vessels which allow us to offer a wide range of shipping services to a national marine customer base. Our 100+ employees bring not only unrivaled expertise in operating ports in Connecticut, they also bring an entrepreneurial spirit that is critical to making new opportunities a reality, opportunities like the future of State Pier.
Everyone at Gateway is excited to be part of the team that will transform State Pier from an underutilized asset into an economic engine driving the growth of a major new industry based right here in New London. Ørsted, a world leader in clean energy and Eversource, New England’s largest energy company, have formed a joint venture to invest billions of dollars in offshore wind project development with major operations taking place at State Pier in New London. To make this opportunity a reality, substantial infrastructure deficiencies at State Pier will need to be addressed at an estimated cost of $93 million. Fortunately, Ørsted and Eversource have committed to paying more than 60 percent - $57.5 million – of the cost of these upgrades, with the State of Connecticut funding the remaining $35.5 million. This will call for a major construction effort, creating hundreds of good-paying jobs for the region’s residents. Once construction is completed, State Pier will benefit from significantly upgraded infrastructure, including an enhanced dock and bulkhead that will be able to accommodate three vessels simultaneously. On average, State Pier has handled less than 30 vessel calls each year. Thanks to these upgrades, State Pier will be poised to handle more than 100 vessel calls annually. These vessel calls translate directly into more activity and increased jobs at the pier.
An upgraded State Pier will be required for New London to capitalize on the offshore wind opportunity in the near term, and the primary use of the pier will be dedicated to fostering this new multi-billion-dollar industry. However, during periods where wind projects are not using State Pier, the facility will be marketed to conventional cargo customers to ensure maximum use of the pier. Once the construction of wind turbines is completed, State Pier and its significantly upgraded infrastructure will serve as a resource for conventional cargo for decades to come.
It is also important to clarify that the location where cargo is unloaded in the state is not up to Gateway, and the company doesn’t decide where ships dock. Shippers determine the most cost-effective way to get their cargo to its final destination, and Gateway’s rates for shippers are identical at both our New Haven and New London locations. We work with shippers from around the world to get their cargo to its destination, and are pleased when their deliveries are made in Connecticut, handled by Connecticut workers, rather than ports in Rhode Island, New York, or other nearby options.
For more than three decades Gateway has played a central role in bringing cargo from across the globe to Connecticut. Gateway is honored to be able to play a role in helping a multi-billion-dollar renewable energy industry make New London its home, and we look forward to a bright future for State Pier, New London, and the entire state.
James Dillman is the president of Gateway Terminal.