South terminal injects millions into local economy

By Simón Rios
Posted Nov. 27, 2014 @ 2:01 amnbcmt

With its healthy appetite for goods and services, the Marine Commerce Terminal in New Bedford has spent millions at local businesses since breaking ground.

“It’s definitely had a positive impact on the harbor, there’s no question about that,” said John Liarikos, owner of Sea Fuels Marine Services, one of the companies that has benefited most from South Terminal in terms of overall sales.

Liarikos said the $3.5 million in business he’s done has offset some of the losses suffered from the decline of the groundfishing industry. And he was optimistic about the future of the terminal and all the commerce it could bring.

“I’m looking five or 10 years down the road at once this marine terminal is completed,” he said.

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the quasi-state agency which oversees the $113 million project, recently put out a spreadsheet listing the local suppliers that general contractor Cashman-Weeks has done business with.

Of Cashman-Weeks’ $54 million portion of the budget, $16 million has been spent on local suppliers, or 64 percent of the total amount spent on suppliers.

The spreadsheet lists 66 companies from Fall River, Taunton and the surrounding suburbs, though New Bedford companies did the lion’s share of business.

Though contractors can’t be obliged to use local suppliers, Bill White, Mass CEC’s project director for the South Terminal, said the city encouraged it by preparing a list of local suppliers “that we fed to” Cashman-Weeks.

At the top of the list is Raymond Piling Products, a Taunton steel distributor that to date has done $6 million in business at South Terminal. Sales representative Joe Aliberti said, “Not to downplay it, but it’s just another one of … many projects.”

Right on the doorstep of South Terminal is Shuster Corp., a bearing manufacturer that has reaped the profits of its proximity. Miles Carroll, a sales manager at the company, characterized the $200,000 in business as a “shot in the arm” for the company.

“They’re not a captive audience but they’re damn close,” Carroll said.

“They’ve certainly been very good to us.”

Shuster has supplied South Terminal construction contractors Cashman-Weeks with a range of products, Carroll said, including hydraulics materials, motors, pumps, pump repair, filters and lubricants. Unlike companies that expect to profit from the commerce that takes place once the terminal is complete, Carroll said he doesn’t anticipate that it will be a real steady type of income.

White said the numbers are not a full accounting but are “pretty well final.”

An additional “bucket” of money for the project — set aside for permitting, engineering, land acquisition, environmental mitigation and other costs — amounts to $20 million, Mass CEC said. Of that bucket, $14 million has gone to local firms.

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