U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced that Newport Shipyard has won a $744,990 federal grant to make capital improvements that will help create jobs, increase economic activity, and improve their building, service, and maintenance capabilities. Senator Reed led the effort to restore federal funding for the Small Shipyard Grant Program in the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations law. The program helps shipyards purchase needed equipment, improve efficiency, and train a skilled workforce of contractors and welders for commercial shipyards while also supporting our military shipbuilding industrial base.
Newport Shipyard will use the funds, which are administered by Maritime Administration (MARAD), to help procure a new 200 ton Marine Travelift. The added lift capacity will allow the Shipyard’s marine repair work to be accomplished indoors rather than outdoors, increasing operational efficiency.
“Small shipyards make big contributions to Rhode Island’s economy. I worked to secure federal funds for the Small Shipyard Grant Program because it helps these businesses compete to build and service ships and boats here in Rhode Island, bringing more jobs and opportunities to the Ocean State. This was a highly competitive grant process with nearly 200 shipyards requesting federal funds. I am pleased that Newport Shipyard has risen to the top to earn this grant, and I’m hoping we can help win some more grants for our other yards in the future,” said Reed, the Ranking Member of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee.
After funding for the Small Shipyard Grant Program lapsed for two years, Senator Reed successfully led the effort to include $5 million in the THUD section of the 2016 omnibus appropriations bill to restart the program, which has helped shipyards across Rhode Island recapitalize and become more competitive. Over the years, Rhode Island shipyards have received $4.2 million in grants from this program.
“The Newport Shipyard team is very excited that we will be awarded the Small Shipyard Grant and we are thankful to Senator Reed for recognizing the impact small shipyards have on our local economy,” said Eli Dana, Newport Shipyard’s general manager. “Adding a 200 MT Marine Travelift will give us the capability to move larger boats inside our building which will keep our team busier year-round and allow us to employ more people,” continued Dana. “Newport Shipyard is always looking for ways to expand our business, improve our efficiency, and be competitive with other shipyards, and this grant will allow us to accomplish those goals,” Dana concluded.
Newport Shipyard will provide matching funds and estimates the resulting projects will lead to 10-15 new jobs within their marine repair business.
The Small Shipyard Grants, which are limited to no more than 75 percent of the estimated improvement costs, are available to U.S. shipyards with less than 1,200 production employees.
Other small Rhode Island shipbuilding companies that have received federal funds in the past for infrastructure enhancements include Blount Boats Inc., in Warren and Senesco Marine, in North Kingstown.