Crowley Puerto Rico Services Inc. announced Tuesday it has broken ground on a $48.5-million construction project for a new pier at its Isla Grande Terminal in San Juan.
The project includes the development of a new 900-foot-long, 114-foot-wide concrete pier and all associated dredging needed to accommodate Crowley’s two new liquefied natural gas-powered, “Commitment Class” ships, which are scheduled for delivery in 2017.
Crowley’s terminal expansion also includes the installation of three new ship-to-shore container gantry cranes, which will be supplied under a separate contract, the company said.
“This important project represents close collaboration between private business and the Puerto Rico Ports Authority to make a major investment in the [island’s] infrastructure,” said José “Pache” Ayala, Crowley vice president for Puerto Rico.
“We are very pleased to be working with a Puerto Rico-based construction company that is utilizing workers on the island and keeping the money in the local economy,” he said.
The construction contract is being executed by L.P.C. & D. Inc., of Las Piedras, which began driving the first piles for the pier last week. Some 75 jobs have been created during the construction phase and about 100 new jobs will be created when the construction is completed in mid-2017 and Crowley begins service with its new ships.
“With the first pile driven, we look forward to watching the coming transformation of our terminal into the most modern and efficient port facility on the island,” said CEO Tom Crowley.
“Our new terminal infrastructure will help us reposition Puerto Rico as a shipping and logistics hub for the Caribbean Basin and beyond, and open up many new opportunities for our customers,” he said.
In all, Crowley is investing about $500 million in its Puerto Rico service with the construction of two new state-of-the-art ships, the new terminal, three new container cranes, new truck access gates, reefer plugs, new containers and container handling equipment, and more.
“This investment, which is resulting in jobs, economic impact, a cleaner environment and significant service enhancements for Puerto Rico shippers, would not be possible without the Jones Act,” said Crowley.
The Jones Act is a federal statute that provides for the promotion and maintenance of a strong American merchant marine. It requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried on U.S.-flag ships constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents.
“While the act ensures that we have a robust shipbuilding capability and skilled merchant mariners in the U.S. essential to our national defense, it has also created a commercial shipping market between the mainland and Puerto Rico that is highly competitive, customized and dedicated,” said Crowley.
“It is because of this competition and the longstanding rules of engagement spelled out in the Jones Act that we have the confidence to make this major investment for the benefit of the people of Puerto Rico,” the executive said.
The pier design, using the latest displacement-based performance criteria, has been carefully developed over the past year with the Ports Authority and Harbor Consulting Engineers Inc., of Seattle, Wash.
Crowley has served the Puerto Rico market since 1954, longer than any other carrier in the trade, and occupied the now 75-acre Isla Grande Terminal the entire time, making it the longest continual occupant of any Jones Act carrier in the trade.
The company, with more than 250 Puerto Rico employees, is also the No. 1 ocean carrier between the island commonwealth and the U.S. mainland with more weekly sailings and more cargo carried annually than any other shipping line.