Providence Journal business section editor John Kostrzewa, has an interesting article calling on state officials and business leaders to promote the Quonset/Davisville port for short sea shipping:

Develop and promote Quonset. The business park is a success and already is home to 160 businesses and 8,200 workers. But to separate it from other industrial parks in the Northeast and put it on the map on the East Coast, it needs to expand by exploiting its access to the ocean. There was a missed opportunity years ago for a deep-water cargo container port to connect Rhode Island with world trade. But there is still a chance for a smaller port in the Davisville area for so-called short-sea shipping that will attract some of the excess capacity from Boston and New York.

Last week, Massport said the Port of Boston handled 10 percent more cargo container shipments last year than 2006, straining the port’s capacity. There’s already a highway and railroad network at Quonset to handle the cargo once it arrives by sea. And more companies would want to locate there for quick importing and exporting of goods and equipment.

The General Assembly plans hearings to study the possibilities. Good. They should anticipate the opposition from South County residents who want to protect their lifestyle. But just like Green, the greater economic good is to develop Rhode Island’s strengths.

If properly protected and promoted, the Port of Providence, with it’s 40ft federal deep water channel and easy highway and rail access, is also perfectly situated to take advantage of short sea shipping opportunities.

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