Connecticut Launches Maritime Cluster

Thursday, March 08, 2001
Connecticut Lieutenant Governor M. Jodi Rell recently announced the official launch of the state's newest industry cluster-maritime- at a ceremony on board the Cross Sound Ferry motor vessel, John H., in New London. The organizational center for the cluster, Connecticut Maritime Coalition (CMC) represents the five components of the industry-transportation, manufacturing and services, recreation, commercial fishing environment-working together to help the maritime companies in Connecticut remain competitive in a fierce global market.

"The maritime industry has always been a vital part of Connecticut's heritage and today is one of the state's premier economic contributors," Lt. Governor Rell said. "The new cluster's partnership between the public and private sectors will ensure that Connecticut's maritime industry remains globally competitive."

"From commercial fishing to water transportation, from manufacturing to recreation, Connecticut has long been a leader in the maritime industry. By announcing this cluster, we are ensuring that our maritime business continue to be market leaders in the years to come," Lt. Governor Rell added.

CMC is currently made up of 21 member businesses, and expects to built industry consensus centered on a broad-based organization. The cluster is already at work in areas such as workforce development, transportation, strategy, dredged material management and commercial fishing advocacy, and plans to initiate the strategic activities necessary to build and strengthen Connecticut's cluster within the worldwide maritime market.

"The benefits of working together are endless," said John S. Johnson, president of Machine Works at Essex-New London facility, and chairman of CMC. "Engaging our membership, administrative staff, government and institutions to create a strategic plan will give Connecticut's maritime companies a host of new opportunities and challenges."

CMC has hired an executive director, William Gash, to oversee day-to-day operations. The maritime industry in Connecticut employs more than 12,000 and generates revenues in excess of $2.6 billion annually. More info about CMC and the maritime cluster can be found at www.ctmaritime.com Connecticut's industry cluster initiative, under the direction of the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), centers on the idea that nurturing the state's key industries improves the competitiveness of companies within these industries, in turn boosting Connecticut's economy. Connecticut's economy. Companies involved with clustering share market knowledge and expertise, and work with government, education and economic development organizations to identify the overall need of their industry.

"The formation of the maritime cluster demonstrates that the momentum for cluster-based economic development is clearly building as industries critical to Connecticut's long-term-economic health are embracing its theories and principles," said DECD commissioner James Abromaitis. "In doing so, they are strengthening their ability to grow and prosper in our state."

Five other Connecticut clusters are already operational-Aerospace, led by Aerospace Components Manufacturer; BioScience, overseen by Cure (Connecticut United for Research Excellence); Metal Manufacturing under the direction of META (Metal Manufacturing Education & Training Alliance); Software/Information Technology, managed by eBizCT and household at the Connecticut Technology Council; and Tourism, run by the Office of Tourism at DECD.

Legislation sponsored by Connecticut's industry cluster initiative has already increased the state's research and development tax credit, increased the net loss carry-forward period from five to 20 years, and initiated a new tax credit exchange. More information about the state's initiative can be found at www.decd.org/clusters.

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