Crowley Maritime Corp. has broken ground on a $48.5 million pier development project in San Juan, Puerto Rico that will be used to service Crowley’s new LNG-powered ships beginning in 2017.
The new pier is located at Crowley’s existing Isla Grande Terminal in San Juan. The project includes the development of a new 900-foot-long, 114-foot-wide concrete pier and dredging needed to accommodate Crowley’s two new liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered Commitment-class ships.
The terminal expansion also includes the installation of three new ship-to-shore container gantry cranes, which are being supplied under a separate contract.
The two ships are scheduled for delivery in 2017 and will be the first combination container and Roll-On/Roll-off ships powered by clean burning LNG.
“This important project represents close collaboration between private business and the Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA) to make a major investment in the infrastructure of Puerto Rico,” explained Jose “Pache” Ayala, Crowley vice president, 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.”
The contractor selected for the project is L.P.C. & D. Inc., of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, which began driving the first piles for the pier last week.
“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 Tom Crowley, company chairman and CEO. “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.”
Crowley Maritime is using the occasion to highlight the importance of the Jones Act following the loss of the El Faro, which serviced the same Jacksonville to San Juan route as the Commitment class vessels. The El Faro was itself scheduled to be replaced by a new LNG-powered containership arriving earlier this month.
Crowley says that in total it is investing about $500 million in its Puerto Rico service with the construction of two new state-of-the-art ships, the new pier, three new container cranes, new truck access gates, reefer plugs, new containers and container handling equipment, among other improvements.
“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 Tom Crowley.
“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,” added 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.”
Crowley has been operating in the Puerto Rico market since 1954 and currently employs over 250 Puerto Rico employees. The company says that the development project has created about 75 construction jobs and 100 new jobs will be added once finished in mid-2017 and Crowley begins service with its new ships.