UPDATE: QDC Balks at Potential Shipper Expanding to RI
UPDATE: The original report from NBC 10’s Bill Rappleye–upon which this post was based–has been pulled from the turnto10.com website. I’ve received clarification on a number of issues I originally brought up related to this item.
Eimskip is welcome to bring any amount of cargo to the Port of Davisville, at any time, beginning today. No cargo vessel has ever been turned away from the Port here. We would welcome Eimskip as a customer, and have communicated that to them.
A separate matter is Eimskip’s proposal to be granted an exclusive, private lease to operate the proposed container terminal at the Port of Davisville. Their proposal included a 10-year agreement that could be ended at their option, at which point QDC would have to reimburse them for any and all improvements the company made to the Port. Further, the proposal envisioned the creation of 3 jobs (3.1 full time equivalents). This proposal was obviously unacceptable, and QDC rejected it on behalf of the taxpayers, and the other port customers.
Meanwhile, based on the recommendation of the Legislative Port Commission in February, QDC has published an RFP to seek the best possible proposal to operate the terminal at the Port of Davisville. Unlike the Eimskip proposal, the RFP calls for maintaining the Port of Davisville as a public port, open to all shipping customers under the operational control and direction of the QDC.
We remain in contact with Eimskip. Similar to every other port customer, they have told us that they will make a decision based on a number of business factors, including rates established by the QDC. These rates will be established once the RFP process is complete. As always, the Port of Davisville will be extremely competitive. Eimskip has informed us that they will make decision in the next several weeks.
Steven King, P.E. Managing Director, QDC
Well, that explains things much better than the original story!
NBC 10’s Bill Rappleye reports:
Federal dollars have refurbished Pier No. 2 at Davisville and provided the state with a crane that can offload containers.
Seafreeze, which is located next to Pier No. 2, exports frozen fish.
One of its customers, a shipping company from Iceland called Eimskip, wanted to bring some of its cargo to Davisville, and the Quonset Development Corporation wanted to get involved.
“As soon as we met with the QDC they invited Eimskip to use the pier and the crane,” said Geir Monsen of Seafreeze.
Monsen said discussions with Eimskip went on for eight months and included a trip to Iceland.
But the QDC broke off the discussions in June and told Eimskip there would be a formal request for proposals, and that the operation would have to be staffed by union longshoremen.
“(The deal) would have granted the private company complete control over the proposed container terminal at the Port of Davisville at very unfavorable terms to the taxpayers and other port consumers,” Steven King, QDC marketing director, said in a statement to NBC 10.
Hm. I’d like to know a few more details about those “unfavorable terms to the taxpayers and other port consumers” before jumping to any conclusions. Is it just because Eimskip (Iceland’s oldest & biggest shipping company, with service to Europe and North America, by the way) didn’t want to use union longshoremen? Or was there more to it than that? It also seems strange that it appears as if the QDC strung Eimskip along for 8 months and then, suddenly, there is to be an RFP. Are there other companies involved here? A lot of questions. Meanwhile, many Port of Davisville residents are upset.
“Eimskip wrote letters to the QDC and how they were looking forward to cooperating all of the users of the port including car imports and potentially any other container users,” Monsen said.
Seafreeze, and a trucking company called Rhody which is also located in the Port of Davisville, said they would have invested millions and created 100 new jobs if Eimskip were to relocate to Rhode Island.
The companies have requested a meeting with Gov. Lincoln Chafee to try and sell him on the idea.
Monsen said Eimskip is also thinking of relocating to Portland, Maine and Norfolk, Va.