Providence, RI - Governor Lincoln D. Chafee, the Rhode Island Congressional delegation, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, and ProvPort officials today announced two new state-of-the art mobile harbor cranes for the Port of Providence have been ordered and are now being manufactured by Austria-based Liebherr Group. The two cranes are part of a $20-million enhancement project funded by a federal TIGER II grant secured by the Rhode Island Congressional delegation and private investment by the non-profit ProvPort. The new cranes will replace two leased cranes from New Jersey that are more than 30 years old.
"These new cranes are a critical step toward protecting the existing jobs at ProvPort and allowing this key asset to enter its next phase of growth," said Governor Chafee. "The Ports of Providence and Boston are the only two deep-water ports in New England, and the new cranes will enable ProvPort to expand both its services and its efficiency. Strengthening Rhode Island's infrastructure is one of the wisest investments we can make for both near-term and long-term job creation and economic growth."
The federal TIGER II grant of $10.5 million was secured through the extensive efforts of the Rhode Island delegation. The amount of total requests was more than twenty times the amount of available federal funds.
"We must do everything we can to create jobs and maximize Rhode Island's economic development resources. Purchasing these new cranes and upgrading the Port of Providence will help build the capacity of Rhode Island as a hub for shipping. I'd also like to thank Secretary LaHood with whom I had many conversations about the need to improve the economic competitiveness of the port," said Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee who worked over the last decade to secure nearly $50 million in federal funding to dredge the Providence River shipping channel to help ensure more ships could utilize the port.
Governor Chafee's office managed the grant process and the state procurement process. In September, at the City of Providence's request, the State of Rhode Island partnered with the city to formally assume control of the TIGER II grant.
"This federal funding will help keep our ports a vibrant part of our coastal economy, and these new cranes will help ProvPort grow business and create jobs for years to come," said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. "I thank the Maritime Administration for supporting our efforts to grow our ports here in Providence and at Quonset."
The new cranes to be acquired through the TIGER II grant will allow for the achievement of three goals: stabilize the existing port infrastructure, allow for expansion of bulk operations including exports, and develop container operations. Today, the average port worker earns $80,000 in wage and benefits. This project will sustain the existing employment and allow for job growth moving forward.
"We cannot reach our economic potential as a state unless we take full advantage of all growth opportunities that our ports offer," said Congressman Jim Langevin. "These cranes will bring more business into Providence, and they are especially important to support our state's effort to be a leader in producing and transporting wind energy infrastructure."
"It is critical that every level of government work together to support the significant investments in infrastructure that will help protect and grow jobs here in Rhode Island," said Congressman David Cicilline. "I am proud of the work we did to secure federal funds to purchase these state-of-the art cranes during my tenure as Mayor of Providence, and I will continue to support projects like this that help rebuild Rhode Island and put our state back to work."
"This is an exciting day for Providence and Rhode Island. Our Working Waterfront is an important part of our economy," said Mayor Angel Taveras. "Working in partnership with the state and our Federal delegation, we are making an investment in our bright future. Together, we have made the difficult decisions that position Providence and Rhode Island to compete in the new and global economy. The new mobile cranes will bring new business to our waterfront and support as many as 1,300 jobs in our community."