WARREN, RI – U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced
that two Rhode Island shipyards will be awarded $1,114,370 in federal funding
to make capital improvements that will 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
Senator Reed, who successfully wrote the law to restore
federal funding for the Small Shipyard Grant Program, says the federal grants
will help the local 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.
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
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. 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,” 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 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
“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 less 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.
According to MARAD’s report, The Economic Importance of the U.S. Shipbuilding and
Repairing Industry, shipyards nationwide provide 110,000 jobs across the
country and contributed $37.3 billion to the Gross Domestic Product in 2013.