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Ports Authority submits $10M grant application for Pier 15 renovation project in San Juan

The Puerto Rico Ports Authority announced it has submitted a grant application to the US Department of Transporation’s Maritime Administration, seeking $10 million to cover 80% of the cost associated with rehabilitating operations at Pier 15 at the Port of San Juan.

The federal funding is being requested under the Port Infrastructure Development Program, Ports Authority Executive Director Joel Pizá confirmed.

“The information we have is that Ports had not submitted a grant to MARAD in 15 years. An application had been submitted in 2010 under the ‘Tiguer’ program and prepared by an external consultant,” he said.

“We’re very happy and excited about this application for competitive funds. Although getting this grant would be historic, we hope and trust it will be approved,” he said.

Getting the federal assistance would enable the Puerto Rico Ports Authority to reconstruct, rehabilitate and enhance the structural capacity of the berth — known as Tender Pier — and Dock B, plus the design and construction of Outfitting pier to establish Roll-on/Roll-off operations at the facility, according to the agency’s proposal.

“These operations have been severely affected due to the deterioration of the infrastructure caused by major force natural events, and normal wear and tear of decades of operation. This project cannot be possible without federal assistance due to the impact on the economy of Hurricanes Irma and María and the COVID 19 global pandemic,” Ports explained to the federal agency.

Following the hurricanes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency commissioned structural evaluations of all the island’s maritime operations.

“In the case of Pier 15, the findings of these studies reflected a critical structural condition. The Ports Authority advanced the designs, and it was determined that the estimated cost of the construction phase required federal financial assistance,” Pizá said.

The request is for $10 million of the total $12.5 million it would cost to complete the work, Ports said.

The economic benefit-cost study carried out has an index of 1.23, which shows the federal agency that the project is viable in terms of investment, Pizá said.

Pier 15 was part of the Isla Grande Naval Air Base built in the 1940s. The agency describes it as “an important point for the docking of medium-draft and tonnage ships that transport cargo between Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, the Lesser Antilles and the eastern coast of United States.”

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.
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