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New Bedford — At a ribbon cutting ceremony, the Baker-Polito Administration today unveiled the newly installed $3.5 million refrigeration unit at the State Pier in the City of New Bedford. The new cooling system will enable the cold storage of perishable produce that is shipped from around the world at the New Bedford facility year round, rather than just winter months, dramatically increasing the pier’s capacity. The event was part of a series of events members of the Baker-Polito Cabinet attended throughout the South Coast showcasing initiatives and announcing grants. The cabinet also hosted their weekly cabinet meeting earlier in the morning at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology.
“The State Pier in New Bedford remains an important asset to the city, the region, and the state, and by investing in a new refrigeration unit, we are ensuring the pier continues to remain economically viable for years to come,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “For several years, New Bedford has demonstrated its leadership in our nation’s maritime economy, and we look forward to seeing the state pier continue to succeed with even more opportunities for economic development.”
“The South Coast has been well-served by the New Bedford State Pier, which has been an integral part of the region’s ‘blue economy’ for years, and the completion of this new refrigeration unit demonstrates our Administration’s commitment to prioritizing local growth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Chair of the Seaport Economic Council. “We are grateful to our partners at the local level who will continue to inform and guide the process for utilizing this pier so that its activity creates both well-paying jobs and year-round productivity.”
With the $3.5 million capital investment for the refrigeration unit, which was provided by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the pier will be able to store diverse products at 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Previously, companies transporting perishable products and produce could only utilize the state pier warehouses in colder months, minimizing the use of the pier's facilities. Through collaboration with DCR, the Executive Office for Administration and Finance’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance managed construction of the site improvements.
“With the addition of a new refrigeration unit to the New Bedford State Pier, the Baker-Polito Administration is demonstrating its commitment to helping our maritime economies remain active throughout the year,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “I am grateful to our municipal partners and fellow state agencies for collaborating so closely with the Department of Conservation and Recreation to ensure a smooth construction process.”
“Through collaboration across state agencies, we have been able to provide a valuable investment that supports the economic future of New Bedford,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan. “The significant improvements at the New Bedford State Pier are perfect examples of how our capital budget strategy prioritizes local development efforts.”
“The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to investing in key economic assets across the Commonwealth, and we are pleased to celebrate this important milestone for New Bedford’s maritime economy,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “This project is the result of successful collaboration between DCR, the State Piers Working Group, the Seaport Economic Council and the City of New Bedford, and we look forward to a continuing to partner on critical investments, that will drive New Bedford’s economy forward.”
The recent installation of the new refrigeration unit serves as the latest example of the Baker-Polito Administration’s dedication to the New Bedford State Pier. Earlier this year, Governor Baker announced plans to transfer the daily management and operations of the New Bedford and Fall River State Piers from DCR to MassDevelopment. Additionally, MassDevelopment manages the Jodrey State Pier in the City of Gloucester, on behalf of the DCR.
“With the investment of this new refrigeration unit, the Department of Conservation and Recreation is excited to participate in a new strategy for the State Pier, one that will lead to greater economic development for New Bedford and the South Coast region,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “From our ocean shores to inland waterfronts, forests, campgrounds and reservations, the DCR remains a steadfast partner for our cities and towns who rely on our diligent stewardship of Massachusetts’ natural resources.”
The refrigeration unit and site pier improvements, which bring the total investment to approximately $4.3 million, were completed on October 13, 2017 and on October 25, 2017 the pier received its first shipment of clementines, which were stored within the cold storage warehouse. The improvements made to the New Bedford State Pier, include:
“Proper cold storage facilities are a major upgrade to the pier that will enable our local longshoremen to maximize job creation along New Bedford’s working waterfront,” said State Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford). “This is the first major step towards a total revitalization that will help connect our bustling maritime economy with the vibrant downtown renaissance.”
“As a result of this important refrigeration project, State Pier will be able to extend its profit-making season and spur additional job creation in New Bedford,” said State Representative Antonio F. D. Cabral (D-New Bedford). “This state project’s potential economic benefit will be significant for the City and the entire region.”
“The state’s investment at the New Bedford state pier will bolster our port’s maritime commerce and provide greater economic development by enabling the pier to provide cold storage on a year round basis,” said State Representative Robert Koczera (D-New Bedford). “The increased economic activity that will result from this investment is welcomed for the jobs it will provide.”
“This project further enhances the port’s economic role in providing year round shipping for cold storage products,” said State Representative Bill Strauss (D-Mattapoissett). “There will be an immediate jobs and financial benefit to the city and region.”