VIPA and Crowley Partner to Upgrade Crown Bay Cargo Facility

VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe and Senior Vice President and General Manager of Crowley Logistics Brett Bennett execute a long-term lease agreement for Crowley’s St. Thomas terminal. VIPA General Counsel Catherine Hendry Esq. also signed the lease agreement (Submitted photo)

The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) and Crowley, a U.S.-based global shipping and logistics company, have ratified agreements between the two entities to rehabilitate the infrastructure and expand the Crown Bay Cargo Facility on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.  Carlton Dowe, VIPA executive director; and Brett Bennett, senior vice president and general manager of Crowley Logistics, executed a long-term lease agreement for Crowley’s St. Thomas terminal.  Dowe met with members of Crowley’s senior leadership and logistics business unit team at Crowley’s office in Jacksonville, Fla., on Tuesday, to finalize the agreement.

Crowley has operated in the USVI for over 40 years. The new agreement, through the subsidiary Crowley Caribbean Services LLC, will extend those operations for at least another 20 years.  Crowley’s operations on St. Thomas include commercial and containerized shipping, warehousing and related administrative activities.

“Crowley is excited to extend our longstanding service connecting the U.S. Virgin Islands, the U.S. mainland, and the Caribbean Basin. We are proud to be a partner to modernize the port terminals and help ensure the people and business have strong, continuing services for the goods they depend upon,” said Bennett. “Through our collaboration to modernize the port facilities, we continue advancing solutions for the U.S. Virgin Islands to sustain a resilient, dependable supply chain network.”

Crowley, along with Tropical Shipping USA LLC, the parent company of Tropical Shipping, partnered with VIPA to pursue a Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD). The grant application requested funding to improve and upgrade the Crown Bay Sandfill Marine Cargo Facility on St. Thomas. Crowley and Tropical committed to contribute more than $5.4 million for the matching funds required for the grant.

With the assistance of Crowley and Tropical, VIPA was able to secure a $21.9 million grant from MARAD in October 2020. The grant will be used to repair and modernize the Crown Bay Sandfill Marine Cargo Facility’s cargo handling areas and storage infrastructure.

VIPA has begun preliminary engineering and pre-construction work for this project and anticipates that construction will start in 2025.  Dowe said that the partnership between VIPA and the two major cargo companies serving the U.S. Virgin Islands is a historical achievement that will benefit the territory for generations to come.

“This joint venture demonstrates the mutually beneficial successes we can attain for the USVI economy when the government and the private sector collaborate and combine resources to improve the communities we serve,” he said.