BOSTON – At an event at Conley Terminal yesterday, the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) thanked Governor Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts Congressional delegation for their significant support of the revitalization of the working port, particularly the $107.5 million commitment to support the construction of a new berth and the procurement of three new cranes to handle larger ships at Conley Terminal and the $42 million FASTLANE grant. Each year, more than one million tons of cargo passes through Massport’s terminals in the Port of Boston, which provide the shipping facilities New England to connect to the global economy.
“The Port of Boston is the main artery of Massachusetts’ consumer economy, with imports and exports serving as vital catalysts for growth, investment and opportunity,” said Governor Baker. “The work done every day by the hardworking men and women of the Conley Terminal ensures the Commonwealth continues to be a global economic power.”
Earlier this month, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx officially announced that Massachusetts would receive a $42 million FASTLANE grant for renovations and improvements to Conley Terminal’s existing facility. The Department had received more than 200 applications for $10 billion in infrastructure investments projects and awarded more than $800 million to projects in 15 states. FASTLANE grant projects are chosen for having regional or national significance by reducing congestion, improving safety and the use of innovative technology, moving freight more efficiently and creating partnerships.
The event also recognized the people who are innovating every day to help fuel the Port’s revitalization. Senator Markey spoke to the fact that the Port needs to continue to evolve with technology and improved methods. He presented an award to Bob Ledoux, President and CEO of Passport Systems. The company has created a cargo inspection system capable of detecting potentially dangerous materials and other contraband.
“Boston Harbor is the economic engine for the entire New England region, and revitalizing the Port will help it retain its world-class distinction,” said Senator Edward J. Markey. “Improving the harbor to accommodate more and larger ships will bring more jobs, more investment, and more economic activity to Massachusetts, extending Boston's position as a shining city upon a hill as well as on the shore. I thank Tom Glynn, Governor Baker, and the entire Massachusetts delegation for their continued commitment to securing funding for this critical Port.”
More than 1,600 businesses across New England use the Port of Boston for importing and exporting goods. Lt. Governor Polito highlighted some of those businesses and presented awards to leadership at BJ’s, Jordan’s Furniture, Disston Tools, Autopart International and Steinerfilm.
“The effects of Conley Terminal stretch far beyond the city of Boston,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “The Port is a driving force for the economy of the entire Commonwealth and I am thrilled to be here today to celebrate its success and promising future.”
Today’s event focused on innovations that help keep the Port of Boston efficient, secure and focused on the mission. Conley Terminal has achieved back-to-back record breaking years for volume in Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016, including double digit growth on both the import and export side this year. Following the opening of the expanded Panama Canal, Conley Terminal is now servicing vessels 40-60 percent larger on the Asia to East Coast route.
Congressman Stephen Lynch, a former iron worker in South Boston, presented an award to members of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and staff at Conley Terminal for implementing the innovative contract. Lynch also recognized Hank Miller, the ILA’s longest serving worker.
“Thanks to Governor Baker and our State legislature who have made critical infrastructure investments and the collaborative leadership of Tom Glynn’s team at Massport, including the International Longshoremen’s Association, Conley Container Terminal continues to break records for volume and reach new levels of productivity. With new investments allowing the Port of Boston to handle more cargo on larger ships, Boston will continue to grow as a strategic port for international shipping on the Eastern Seaboard and remain an important part of the maritime economy,” said Congressman Stephen F. Lynch.
Congressman Michael Capuano presented an award to Conley employee Marlene Lio for her leadership on Forecast Mobile Lite App. The app lets a shipper or truck driver view and search for container availability at marine terminals in real time. The technology can save time at the terminal by detailing which containers are ready for pickup.
“Massachusetts’ role as a global center for innovation includes incredible technological advancements right here in one of America’s oldest ports,” said Congressman Capuano. “Adapting new technologies to create more time and cost-effective systems for the challenges involved with processing goods has been and will be critical to the continued success of the Port.”
The state delegation was instrumental in Massport securing funding for projects in the economic development bill. State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and State Representative Nick Collins represent South Boston and advocated strongly for this funding on behalf of their constituents and those that work at Conley.
“People rely on Conley Terminal for goods we use every day in our homes, for our local businesses to grow and build our economy through imports and exports and as an important source of employment for our residents,” said State Senator Dorcena Forry. “The working Port is truly working for the people of Massachusetts.”
State Representative Collins presented an award to members of the Tommy Butler Buffer Park Committee who were influential in its final design. The buffer park, to be completed in 2017, will serve as a significant noise and visual buffer for the residents as the new haul road will remove all Conley Container Terminal truck traffic from the residential streets.
“Both the new Thomas J. Butler bypass haul road and buffer park will greatly benefit the residents of East First Street and the adjacent community,” said Representative Collins. “It is a significant project and I want to thank the members of the committee who spent many hours going over each detail of the buffer park that will enhance South Boston.”
Shipping companies have their choice of working ports along the east coast, and it is essential for Boston and New England that the Conley Terminal remains competitive. Massport and partner agencies are engaged in three major initiatives to improve Coney and the shipping lanes:
Build a new berth and procure three new cranes: Governor Baker recently signed the Economic Development Bill that contains $107.5 million to support the construction of a new berth and the procurement of three new cranes to handle larger ships. Massport is funding the remaining project costs.
Maintain and modernize the terminal: the $42 million federal FASTLANE grant from the Department of Transportation will help pay for upgrades to existing facilities. Massport is funding the remaining project costs.
Deepen Boston Harbor to accommodate larger vessels being deployed by ocean carriers: Dredging ensures the ships can get to the port; the berth and cranes ensure we can service them effectively and efficiently. The first phase of the dredging project is set to begin this fall.
“Our mission to revitalize the Port and keep it competitive is a huge undertaking and I’d like to thank our elected officials and our many partner agencies for their constant attention,” said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. “There are several major projects to keep track of and their knowledge and care about them says a great deal about our leadership.”