Massachusetts sinks $850 million into Boston Harbor to lure bigger freighters

An investment of nearly $850 million to expand Boston Harbor was celebrated Friday by public and private sector leaders, who said the improvements have made the city more competitive, thanks to global connectivity increased capacity and the ability to moor larger freighters.

The Paul F. Conley Container Terminal in Southie now has direct connectivity to 25 global ports, up from the seven ports it was limited to prior to multi-year upgrades funded by a combination of public, federal and private funds. .

“This place is so much bigger, so much better and has so much more potential than it was five, six, seven, eight years ago,” Governor Charlie Baker said at a press conference.

The Massport-owned terminal is connected to China, Northern Europe, Southeast Asia including Vietnam and India, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Latin America via five services, with a sixth service due to start in October. Two services were previously offered.

These upgrades should be seen as the start of “what may continue to be very significant growth” at Conley, New England’s only full-service container terminal, Baker said. In 5-10 years, he said he would like to see 50, rather than 25, global connections.

Major improvements included a $350 million dredging of Boston Harbor, led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which deepened the main shipping channel; and the addition of a 50-foot-deep berth to accommodate new cranes and larger freighters.

A dedicated truck route, the Butler Freight Corridor, was created to direct container trucks away from residential roads and into the highway system within minutes.

“It’s ports like Boston Harbor that serve as an economic anchor for the entire New England region, helping to ensure the Bay State remains competitive in our global economy,” the senator said. American Ed Markey, D-Mass.

“But even that strong economic foothold needed direct federal funding to weather the storms of COVID-19, the supply chain crisis, and rising inflation, especially as we move into a new era. large shipping,” he added.

Markey said that for years other competing ports have benefited from expansion projects that have enabled so-called “post-Panamax ships”, which are the largest in the world.

Measuring the length of aircraft carriers, the ships can carry almost three times as much cargo as their predecessors. Markey said his goal was to fund upgrades that would allow these “gargantuan giants of the sea” to dock in Boston.

He worked with U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Representative Stephen Lynch to secure federal funding totaling $217 million for the project, which helped deepen the port, build oversized docks, purchase “colossal” cranes and reorganize port processing. facilities.

“These improvements are expected to double the port’s container volume, create 9,000 port jobs and generate billions in economic activity across New England,” Markey said. “It’s a sea monster that goes hand in hand with the green monster, and it’s important for our city.”

“This expansion will help secure Boston’s place as a shining city on a hill, as well as a shining harbor on the shore,” he added.

BOSTON, MA – September 30: Mass. Govt. Charlie Baker speaks as Massport celebrates the completion of its $850 million Conley Container Terminal upgrade on September 30, 2022 in , BOSTON, MA. (Staff Photo by Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
BOSTON, MA - September 30: Mass.  Senators Markey and Warren chat as Massport celebrates the completion of the $850 million Conley Container Terminal upgrade on September 30, 2022 in , BOSTON, MA.  (Staff Photo by Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
BOSTON, MA – September 30: Mass. Senators Markey and Warren chat as Massport celebrates the completion of its $850 million Conley Container Terminal upgrade on September 30, 2022 in , BOSTON, MA. (Staff Photo by Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
BOSTON, MA - September 30: Containers are unloaded as Massport celebrates the completion of its $850 million Conley Container Terminal upgrade on September 30, 2022 in , BOSTON, MA.  (Staff Photo by Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
BOSTON, MA – September 30: Containers are unloaded as Massport celebrates the completion of its $850 million Conley Container Terminal upgrade on September 30, 2022 in , BOSTON, MA. (Staff Photo by Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

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