2 R.I. shipyards win grants under maritime funding program revived by Reed

2 R.I. shipyards win grants under maritime funding program revived by Reed

The Westerly Sun


WARREN — U.S. Sen. Jack Reed on Saturday announced that two Rhode Island shipyards will be awarded $1,114,370 in federal funding to make capital improvements intended to help create jobs, increase economic activity, and improve their building, service, and maintenance capabilities.

Blount Boats in Warren will receive $508,927 and J. Goodison Company in North Kingstown will receive $635,453 from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) through the Small Shipyard Grant Program.

Reed, who successfully wrote the law to restore federal funding for the Small Shipyard Grant Program, said the federal grants will help the local shipyards purchase equipment, improve efficiency, and train a skilled workforce of contractors and welders for commercial shipyards while also supporting the state’s military shipbuilding industrial base.

Blount Boats will use the federal funds to help the company purchase a 25-ton submersible, self-propelled marine transporter to haul USCG rescue vessels due for maintenance and repair, explosion-proof lighting, blasting system, belt-sander and plate roller that will help the company make needed improvements to its hull and paint shops. The project also includes creating a series of work stations. All of the improvements will help the shipyard increase efficiencies in its production capability and operations.

J. Goodison Company, a veteran-owned shipyard that provides repair services to commercial and government vessels, will use its federal grant to purchase a wash water collection and treatment system, along with new boom lifts, scissor lifts, and scaffolding towers. The addition of this equipment will allow the shipyard to expand operations and work on more vessels simultaneously. Taken together, the new investments will help the shipyard create jobs and realize increased environmental efficiencies in its operations.

J. Goodison Company, which was founded in 1999, already services vessels such as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Coast Guard cutters.

“Small shipyards like Blount Boats and J. Goodison Company help provide a big lift to Rhode Island’s economy,” Reed said in a prepared statement. “I worked to restore the Small Shipyard Grant Program and secure federal funds for it because it helps these businesses compete to build and service ships here in Rhode Island, bringing more jobs and opportunities to the Ocean State. This was a highly competitive grant process with nearly 100 shipyards requesting federal funds. I am pleased that Rhode Island companies successfully competed for these grants.”

Reed is 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, Reed successfully led the effort to restore funding and provide $5 million in the THUD division of the 2016 omnibus appropriations bill to restart the program, which has helped shipyards across Rhode Island recapitalize and become more competitive. In the 2017 omnibus appropriations bill, Reed again led the successful effort to continue the program and increase the funding to $10 million.

“U.S. shipyards, especially some of our smaller yards, produce some of the world’s best-built vessels,” said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby. “These grants will fund the kinds of upgrades and modernization that ensure America’s shipbuilding industry remains strong and competitive internationally.”

“Blount Boats is truly grateful to Senator Reed for his consistent and enthusiastic support of the Small Shipyard Grant Program. The equipment and training purchased through these grants are transformative for smaller yards,” said Marcia Blount, President of Blount Boats, Inc.

“This is great news that will help us continue to expand and promote economic development and employment growth. We look forward to putting this new equipment to good use and appreciate Senator Reed’s leadership and support for Rhode Island’s maritime workers and our shipyards,” said Jack Goodison, founder and co-owner of J. Goodison, Inc.

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 fewer than 1,200 production employees.

Over the years, Rhode Island shipyards have received $5.3 million in grants from this program. Other small Rhode Island shipbuilding companies that have received federal funds in the past for infrastructure enhancements include Newport Shipyard in Newport and Senesco Marine in North Kingstown.


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