April 19, 2017 — The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority is working with a maritime consultant to determine if any existing facilities in New Bedford could handle freight ferries to Martha’s Vineyard and possibly relieve some truck traffic to the Woods Hole ferry terminal.
The ferry line has hired Craig Johnson, a partner in the Florida-based maritime executive search firm Flagship Management who was involved the time the Steamship offered freight service from New Bedford more than a decade ago, said Wayne Lamson, the Steamship Authority’s general manager. Lamson updated the boat line’s board on the matter at its Tuesday meeting at the Hyannis ferry terminal.
“He’s in the discovery phase and going around and seeing what facilities might be available before (we) approach certain potential private carriers to see if it would be something they would be interested in and if it would be something that is feasible in the long term,” Lamson said.
The Steamship Authority will pay $19,500 for the work, which will include the review of New Bedford shipping facilities, interviewing potential customers of the freight service and identifying private operators that might provide the service under a license agreement, Lamson said. Johnson is expected to report his findings to the Steamship Authority in three or four months.
The first step in a report issued last year outlining recommendations for a potential New Bedford freight line is to explore private operators to provide the service. If no operator can be found, the next steps would include pursuing funding to improve either the New Bedford State Pier or New Bedford Marine Commercial Terminal to allow for freight service.