Rhode Island: Open for Business

Joseph Keefe (taken from MarineNews April 2012 print edition)
Friday, April 27, 2012
Planned Blount Newbuild Wind Turbine support vessel.

Rhode Island’s economic assets include a surprising number of prominent and lesser known maritime firms. A recent media tour hosted by the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) highlighted the Ocean State’s key role(s) in the nation’s maritime industry.

 

As the state of Rhode Island – along with everyone else, so it seems – works to revitalize a struggling local economy, it has become increasingly apparent that the marine industry will play a prominent role in that revival. In March, the Ocean State’s marine trade industry opened their doors to national trade media, showcasing the important work being done here in the ocean state. MarineNews Editor Joseph Keefe spent two full days there, visiting a raft of maritime businesses, marine research centers and government contractors. The primary take-away from all of that was this: Rhode Island is indeed open for business.

 

  • Rhode Island’s Economy: maritime is key

The two-day event focused on the state’s vast marine-related industries. Rhode Island’s 400 miles of coastline boasts a strong cluster of marine-related industries, with numerous shipping terminals, marinas, docks and marine industrial sites. Beyond this, the University of Rhode Island – home to world-class oceanographic research by military and private sector firms – is joined by well-known maritime firms such as Blount Shipbuilding, Electric Boat, Hall Spars, Hinckley Yachts, Hunt Yachts, KVH Industries, New England Boatworks and Pearson Composites. A well-known and respected maritime training resource, the Non-Profit 501c (3) Maritime Simulation Institute (MSI), operates out of Middletown, RI. A burgeoning high-tech maritime security sector exists here as well, anchored by ASA Science, Rite Solutions, and the Naval Underwater War College (NUWC).
 

At the heart of Governor Chafee’s revitalization efforts is his recognition that the marine trade industry will play a key role in Rhode Island’s future. In March, the Governor told gathered journalists that he believes these industries, which carry great potential for high-skilled manufacturing, will be crucial, just as they have been throughout the state’s history. Rhode Island, he says, is a logical choice for marine industries and research, not only because of its coastal infrastructure, but because the state has a strong supply chain, over 12,000 workers employed in the industry, and access to world-class marine building and technology partners and an active Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA). 

 

  • Out & About

Drilling down, the specific parts of Rhode Island’s maritime business climate are arguably even more impressive than the whole. A whirlwind two-day tour of the state’s waterfront provided several notable highlights:
 

The Rhode Island’s Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) is the U.S. Navy's full-spectrum research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support center for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, and offensive and defensive weapons systems associated with undersea warfare. One of the corporate laboratories of the Naval Sea Systems Command, NUWC is headquartered in Newport. NUWC employs more than 4,400 civilian and military personnel around the world, with budgets of over $1 billion.
 

The University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography offers a “Blue MBA” which prepares students for management careers in energy, ocean technology and engineering, and marine navigation.  The program works across disciplines ranging from observation-based research, modeling, and instrument development, which translates into initiatives funded by organizations such as the NSF, DOC,  USAID, U.S. Navy, DOE, U.S. Air Force, EPA, and others.  The work ranges from collecting micro-organisms in deep sea environments for DNA mapping and drug discovery research to collecting mineral samples for gas and oil discovery.  The Graduate School of Oceanography’s Special Area Management Program (SAMP) has mapped approximately 5% of the world’s ocean floors and works on mining and wind farm planning projects. 
 

Blount Boats, located in Warren, RI, proved to be one of the more interesting venues of the week. The tour and presentation at their boatyard included a personal visit from Governor Lincoln Chafee, who told MarineNews, “I’m more concerned with rising energy costs here in Rhode Island than I am with taxes. We also need to focus on job training.” Looking out over four brand new, Blount-built U.S. Army 75-foot, passenger vessels scheduled for immediate delivery, Chafee also held forth on the current challenging federal budget discussions. “Defense will take a hit. Rhode Island will, however, aggressively protect its piece of the shrinking pie.” Fortunately, Blount also does more than its fair share of commercial work, too.
 

A recently signed contract with Wendella Sightseeing Company, Inc. to construct a third 89 x 30 foot steel excursion boat will be a sister ship to the M/V Wendella (Hull 320) and M/V Linnea (Hull 330) built by the Blount shipyard in 2007 and 2010. Blount Boats was also awarded a contract by the Maine Department of Transportation to build a 110-foot passenger ferry for the Casco Bay Island Transit District. The proposed 399 passenger, Sub-Chapter K vessel will operate year round ferry service to islands in Casco Bay, Portland, Maine. Featuring the latest in electronically controlled diesel engines that meet EPA standards, Blount Hull number 335 will mark the ninth vessel built for the Casco Bay Island Transit District. Further fattening the Blount backorder book is yet another contract to build a sister vessel to the 75-foot aluminum passenger vessel, LA PRINCESA. Contract signing for the 149 passenger vessel is now underway.

Beyond (and perhaps more important than) Blount’s active backorder book and busy yard is a new licensing agreement with UK-based South Boats Special Projects, Ltd., which will allow Blount to be the exclusive shipyard to manufacture U.S. flagged aluminum catamarans of South Boats designs for the U.S. wind farm industry. At least 45 South Boats-built wind farm service vessels, in five classes are now in operation. Blount executives told MarineNews in March that they were to start building a “spec” wind farm vessel as early as this summer. Out in front of Rhode Island’s aggressive push to bring the first U.S. offshore wind farm to the Ocean State, Blount also aims to be the first supplier of Jones Act compliant, domestically built service vessels to the industry.
 

Also based in Rhode Island and a part of the tour was Rite Solutions, a firm engaged in analysis technology that spans the realm of DOD/U.S. Navy work (75% of revenues) and commercial efforts, too. Rite-Solutions’ accomplishments include participation in Navy Undersea Warfare programs, commercial entertainment contracts and child safety programs. In 2010, Rite-Solutions was awarded a $73 million Phase III SBIR contract for work on the Combat Systems of the Future. The company’s customers include the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Naval Sea Systems Command, Office of Naval Research, Raytheon, and many others. Significantly, they also provide simulation software for the Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s Emergency Management graduate degree program.
 

Rounding out the week was a visit to ASA, also a global science and technology firm that notably markets the OilmapWeb system, a web-based version of ASA’s OILMAP software for oil spill response training and planning. Using OILMAP, a user can then run the oil spill model, entering the location of the accident, and amount and type of oil that is released. Using this data, the software provides key response strategies for responders.

 

  • The Ocean State: the case for Maritime Business

Two days in March, hosted by the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, opened a lot of eyes to Rhode Island’s current business climate and its future potential to host additional marine business opportunities. “Rhode Island has a long-standing history of Marine industries that have continued to innovate and evolve to grow,” said Keith Stokes, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC). The RIEDC is a business resource to businesses looking to expand and relocate to Rhode Island, we offer financing options for the marine industry, including business loans through the Small Business Loan Fund, as well as tax incentives and other workforce development assistance. Also, no sales tax is levied on boats registered in the State.”
 

The many and varied maritime businesses dotting the Rhode Island coastline show no apparent signs of a sluggish economy. In fact, most showed growth within a difficult period and all exhibited ongoing business and the prospects for more. The smallest state with a long coastline and a big maritime footprint may also be poised to be the nation’s first to dip their toes into the offshore wind power game. And, that because Rhode Island is open for business.

 

By Joseph Keefe, Editor, MarineNews magazine.  (taken from MarineNews April 2012 print edition)

Maritime Reporter August 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Evergreen Upgrades its Intra-Asia Service Network

Evergreen Line announced it will partner with Mariana Express in launching a joint South China- East Malaysia (SEM) Service. The new initiative will give a boost

Bureau Veritas Diversifies with MatthewsDaniel Acquisition

Bureau Veritas announced today that it has acquired MatthewsDaniel Ltd, a global provider of loss adjusting and risk assessment services for the offshore industry.

Fogal Retires from Zentech After 57 Years in O&G

Robert “Bob” “Sonny” Fogal, Jr., one of the icons in the offshore oil and gas industry, has decided to retire from front-line work as Zentech’s Director of Business Development.

Technology

NavStation to Launch at SMM

Touch screen technology has transformed everyday life and now, thanks to Norwegian e-navigation specialist NAVTOR, it is set to revolutionize operations onboard busy vessel bridges.

SENER Announces the FORAN V70R3.0

SENER announces the new FORAN V70R3.0, available from July 31, 2014. With more than 45 years in the market, FORAN takes advantage of SENER´s innovative development

New Bulk Carrier Design Puts Ecoships in the Lotus Position

Ecoships, the technical shipmanagement arm of Newport Shipping Group, has introduced a next generation bulk carrier design, developed to set the standard in ecologically

Shipbuilding

Vard Orders Parat Electric Steam & Hot Water Boilers

During the last month, PARAT Halvorsen AS has collected four new boiler plant orders from the Vard Group and their multipurpose platform ships of Vard 1 08 design.

N-KOM Lays Keel for Qatar’s First Liftboat

Nakilat-Keppel Offshore & Marine (N-KOM) has achieved another milestone with the keel laying of its first liftboat newbuild project, awarded in July 2014 by long-time

Imtech Marine Nav/Com Partner for Groen OSV

The first newbuild ship in a series of three offshore support vessels (OSVS) for shipowner Groen (Scheveningen), 7-Oceans, was delivered at Damen Maaskant Shipyards in Stellendam,

Ports

Algeria in Talks to Export Crude to Venezuela

Algeria is in talks to export crude oil to fellow OPEC member Venezuela, Algerian Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi said on Tuesday, confirming a Reuters report. Last week,

New Shipping Agency Enters the Market

Newly formed shipping agency Wave Shipping aims to bring change to current industry practice with its differentiated value proposition Founded by Lars Rosenkrands,

Tankship-specific Version of FindaportCD Released

Harbour & terminal information providers, Shipping Guides Ltd, says its latest tanker-specific  addition enables customers to access the most comprehensive port

Software Solutions

Newport News Selects Paramarine Design Software

QinetiQ’s Paramarine Ship and Submersible Design Software has been selected by Newport News Shipbuilding (NSS) as its primary naval architectural software. QinetiQ

Logistical Scenario Analysis for Hydrodynamic Applications

To calculate the operability of the whole logistics chain, rather than only individual operations, MARIN has developed the hydrodynamic scenario analysis program ScenSim.

Tankship-specific Version of FindaportCD Released

Harbour & terminal information providers, Shipping Guides Ltd, says its latest tanker-specific  addition enables customers to access the most comprehensive port

Wind Power

Master Fined After Wind Farm Collision

The master of a wind farm support vessel has today been made to pay £3,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to breaches of maritime collision regulations.

CWind Launches New Vessel

CWind, a provider of integrated services to the offshore wind industry, has launched its new vessel CWind Fulmar in a naming ceremony in Brightlingsea. The CWind Fulmar, built by CTruk Ltd.

Policy Uncertainty Threatens to Slow Renewable Energy Momentum

IEA forecast sees renewable power as a cost-competitive option in an increasing number of cases, but facing growing risks to deployment over the medium term. The

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2932 sec (3 req/sec)