With over 350 years of maritime history, it is no surprise that today New Bedford is one of the most important commercial ports on the East Coast. From its whaling days to its current position as the nation’s number one fishing port in terms of value of catch, to its future as a major hub for industrial scale offshore wind and an intermodal shipping center, the Port of New Bedford has been and will always be a working port.
The Port serves as the city’s greatest natural resource and most critical asset to stimulate investment, attract new industry, create jobs and develop a healthy economy. Over 6,200 people are employed by New Bedford’s commercial port. New Bedford is the number one value fishing port in the nation generating direct business revenues of $3.3 billion and a total economic impact of $9.8 billion, representing 2% of the states GDP.
Today, the busy Port of New Bedford is home to over 200 maritime businesses, a commercial fleet of 500 fishing vessels, two inter-island ferry services, an active cargo shipping industry, a cruising industry, bulk and break-bulk cargo facilities, and numerous shipyards and vessel repair facilities.
Ferry services are available in the port, including passenger and cargo service to Cuttyhunk Island and passenger service to Martha’s Vineyard. Launch, water taxi, and charter boat services also operate in the port.
Like many modern working ports, New Bedford/Fairhaven Harbor balances maritime interests and local economic needs with environmental concerns. Several economic and environmental designations, such as the Foreign Trade Zone and No Discharge Area, currently apply to the port.
The Port of New Bedford is currently undertaking a more than $200 million commercial makeover: deepening channels and berths as well as repairing and enlarging maritime terminals and wharves to accommodate the needs of the growing shipping and emerging offshore wind industries. With excellent road, vessel, and rail connections to New England, the nation, and the world, New Bedford is poised to become a leading intermodal port into the 21st century and beyond.