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By Michael Souza
PBN Staff Writer
WESTERLY – The Washington Trust Co. has provided $7.5 million in both short term and permanent financing to the Quonset Development Corp., for a dredging project to increase the channel depth and expand shipping capabilities at the Port of Davisville in Quonset Business Park. Approximately 260,000 cubic yards of sediment will be removed at the Port to re-establish a depth of minus 32-feet below mean low water in and around the berthing facilities. By increasing the channel depth, ships will be able to more and larger cargo to the port. It is the first time the channel has been dredged in its 70-year history.
The port is the seventh largest auto port in North America. It is Rhode Island’s only public port and provides a gateway to markets throughout southern New England, as it is strategically located near the mouth of Narragansett Bay.
The R.I. Economic Development Corporation board and Gov. Lincoln Chafee approved the dredging project earlier this year. In addition, through grants secured by U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Rep. James R. Langevin, the port has invested $22.3 million in terminal infrastructure improvements. This includes the purchase of a 150 metric ton mobile harbor crane. These improvements are designed to provide better service and cost savings to regional shippers and major ocean carrier services. In addition, with completion of terminal improvements, the port will be capable to handle significantly more automobiles per year compared to 156,000 automobiles imported in 2011 as well as expand importing capabilities beyond roll off cargo.
The QDC is a real estate development and management company that supports employment opportunities in the state of Rhode Island. QDC, a special purpose subsidiary of the RIEDC, manages the Quonset Business Park, which is home to 168 companies and their 8,800 employees.
“Washington Trust is pleased to work with the Quonset Development Corp. to finance the dredging project at the Port of Davisville, as this will help the Port of Davisville to build on its success as an economic development engine for our state,” said Joseph J. MarcAurele, Washington Trust chairman, president, and CEO. “As Rhode Island’s largest independent bank, Washington Trust proudly supports those businesses, organizations, and activities that make the Ocean State a better place to live and work and this is another great example of our efforts here in Rhode Island.”
“With the completion of this dredging, as well as $22.3 million in federal TIGER grant improvements at the Port, we anticipate that the port will continue to grow in the coming years,” said Steven King, managing director of QDC. “This is one of the most important projects we have embarked upon in the past several years, and we are extremely grateful for the support of our state leaders, Washington Trust, and so many others to make it happen.”