Shipping Service Would See Freight to Martha’s Vineyard, Trash to New Bedford
A new plan could be in the works that would see freight shipping between New Bedford and Martha's Vineyard.
On his weekly radio program "Midweek with Mayor Mitchell" hosted by Barry Richard, Mayor Jon Mitchell discussed the possibility of bringing freighters into the city, possibly at State Pier or the new Marine Commercial Terminal, that would ship freight to Martha's Vineyard and possibly Nantucket.
In return, the freighters would likely carry back trash from Martha's Vineyard to be disposed at either Crapo Hill or SEMASS.
"It's definitely something we want, we just want it in the right place," Mayor Mitchell said. "The freight service might ultimately include trash service from the Vineyard. I don't think anyone wants trash unloaded at the State Pier, given that there is a ferry terminal there and given its proximity to restaurants. But I think it's eventually going to happen."
Mitchell said the Refuse District, which is operated by the Town of Dartmouth and the City of New Bedford, would get the revenue generated from the Vineyard dumping its trash at Crapo Hill. That money would be used to fund operations, but Mitchell also warns that the filling of that landfill is something that should happen slowly, so there is concern about bringing trash from the Vineyard to the site.
Although Mitchell said he'd prefer to see the service happen at somewhere other than State Pier, he said that's the spot being eyed by the Steamship Authority, which governs all the marine traffic around the island.
"The problem with State Piere is that its management remains in limbo," Mitchell said, noting that it's been about six months since Governor Charlie Baker handed off the management of the pier from the DCR to MassDevelopment, and nothing has yet to be formalized. "Once MassDevelopment has a good plan for State Pier, then freight there might work. It also might work at the new Marine Commerce Terminal, and it might work in a number of other places."
Mitchell said that as of right now, he doesn't see the service as being a big job creator for the city, but more of another tool in the toolbelt for the city's waterfront.
"I don't think it'll be a huge job creator. We figure maybe 15 jobs or so, which look, we'll take every job we can get," he said. "It's not like it's going to be a huge boon to the local economy. It just compliments the other things that we have going on there."