EAST PROVIDENCE – More than a year after ground was broken to build a new wind turbine shipping and staging area on the city’s waterfront, ProvPort Inc. announced Wednesday it has formally executed a lease with Rhode Island Waterfront Enterprises LLC to develop and operate the undeveloped port on the city’s South Quay.
Additionally, Waterson Terminal Services LLC, which recently began partnering with Seattle-based SSA Marine Inc., has also pledged to match the state’s $35 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to support the port development. The project is a partnership between the state, the city and Rhode Island Waterfront Enterprises to turn the land into staging and shipping area for wind turbines to be brought out to sea.
In total, ProvPort says $70 million will be invested in developing phase one of the project that creates a fully operational terminal for ships to dock, onload and offload cargo. Dredging, steel bulkheading, and marine construction of a 550-foot dock is part of the project’s first phase construction, ProvPort says, as well as conducting high-bearing capacity upland improvements, new security fencing and lighting across 18 acres.
“Nearly every morning for the last five years, I’ve sat in my office and looked across the bay at the unrealized and undeveloped South Quay knowing full well what it could mean to the State of Rhode Island and the offshore wind industry,” Waterson CEO and President Chris Waterson said in a statement. “Our team has put in a great deal of work to get to this point, and we are very pleased to have a role in this transformational project.”
ProvPort also says the investment will help create an offshore wind development and support hub where the cities of East Providence and Providence and the state will benefit economically, including long-term job creation. Providence Mayor Brett P. Smiley said in a statement ProvPort is a “critical partner” to the city and will be “important part of ensuring we have a fully working waterfront.”
ProvePort also says the entity, R.I. Commerce Corp. and the city of East Providence will work to codify agreements to advance the facility’s construction. ProvPort, it says, currently has a revenue sharing agreement with the city of Providence and the state for its current operations.
(CORRECTION: SSA Marine Inc. is the Seattle-based company that is partnering with Waterson Terminal Services LLC.)