State picks New Haven port operator to run State Pier in New London
Hartford— After months of negotiations, the Connecticut Port Authority has reached an agreement with Gateway New London LLC to run State Pier in New London for at least the next 20 years.
The port authority’s board voted unanimously to approve the 20-year agreement during its meeting in Hartford Monday morning.
Scott Bates, chairman of the port authority’s board, said the deal represents the largest investment in State Pier in the facility’s history.
“We have a better deal for the taxpayers, which means we’re getting more revenue in that we can put to work on projects across the state,” Bates said.
More than 64 companies from across the globe were contacted by the port authority to run State Pier; 12 signed non-disclosure agreements allowing them to receive proprietary information about the facility. Six companies responded to the request for proposal for a pier operator, and three submitted complete bids, including the current port operator Logistec.
Matthew Satnick, co-CEO and chairman of Enstructure, Gateway’s financial partner, said the company sees New London’s deepwater port as a “potential offshore wind hub,” and that what the company built over the past several decades in New Haven is “a good analog for opportunities in New London.”
“We think we bring both customer specific relationships and market experience to the table and look forward to expanding the business in New London,” Satnick said.
Orsted, which in October acquired Deepwater Wind, has teamed up with Gateway. Deepwater, which developed the five turbine wind farm off Block Island, is under contract to deliver 300 megawatts of electricity to Connecticut from a wind farm off Martha’s Vineyard.
With Orsted’s involvement some see the New London port becoming a major staging area for the offshore wind industry.
Gateway, a privately held company based in Connecticut, is the largest port terminal operator in the state, operating five terminals on about 75 acres in and around the port of New Haven, one of the state’s three deepwater ports.
Gateway will take over operations at State Pier on May 1. At the end of the 20-year contract, the port authority has the option to extend the agreement for two additional 10-year periods.
Under the agreement, the port authority will receive 250,000 increases every five years. The port authority will also receive 7 percent of Gateway’s gross revenues at State Pier, with a minimal annual guarantee of 100 million investment to make the New London port “a first-rate port facility,” an investment he said would likely come from a public-private partnership. Orsted has committed to keeping Deepwater Wind’s pledge to invest at least 15 million.
New Haven’s port, the highest volume commercial shipping port on the Long Island Sound, handles petroleum products, general bulk, cargo, scrap metal, metallic products, cement, sand, stone, salt, break bulk and project cargo.