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DRY DOCK

"The mistaken policy and loss in money and business which followed the initial error of the former Port Board in allowing itself to be carried off its feet by clamor and desire for haste, is evidenced by the totally different result shown when that Board acted with deliberation and scientific accuracy, such as was given to the Dry Dock project. The contract for the construction of Pier 5 was prepared and rushed through within sixty days. The Dry Dock contract was carefully considered for months. An expert from the Navy Department was brought to Boston, and spent practically a year and a half in the preparation of plans before the contract was even advertised for bids.

"In the face of a strenuous campaign of opposition to the Dry Dock, the endeavor to find flaws in the contract made by the former Board has not been successful, and the contract was approved on Wednesday, October 13th, by the Governor and Council. The value to Boston of this improvement, work on which has already begun, is expected to be great. It will provide in Boston repair and docking accommodations available in no other Atlantic port for the largest ships afloat. In size and capacity the dry dock will stand for many years in a class by itself, because with this facility provided in Boston Harbor, other ports, even New York, will hesitate to duplicate it. The Fore River Shipbuilding Corporation spends $40,000 on every battleship sent to New York for dry-docking purposes, which would be saved if we had a dry dock in Boston. This extra $40,000 must be added by the Fore River Shipbuilding Corporation to its price in competitive bidding for ships, and when bidding is close this one item may lose them the award. When the dry dock is completed, the vast machine shops which private enterprise has already agreed to build on the land adjoining will open up employment in South Boston and stimulate that section of our city to great activity.

"The dry dock will probably pay its running expenses, but at first not the interest on the original investment. This is a subsidy for business and prestige to this port for which direct and indirect returns will amply justify the Commonwealth.

EASTERN PIER PURCHASE

"The other unfinished matter was the proposal to build a pier on the Eastern Railroad site at East Boston. It was shown that this contemplated pier would be in fact an addition to the terminal facilities of the Boston and Albany road, to be occupied by the Cunard Steamship Company, which company, however, had not agreed to use it, and in fact had notified the Port Board that it would not occupy the pier. Even if the Cunard Company had wished to occupy this pier, it would still have been an unwise expenditure, because Pier 5 at South Boston should be made the joint landing stage for all over-sea steamers coming to Boston, especially for the landing and examination of immigrants. *The build

*Commonwealth Pier as a Joint Landing Stage. Supplementary Report of the Directors of the Port of Boston, Page 51.

ing of this pier in East Boston would have required the duplication of expensive steerage and passenger facilities in East Boston. The fact that the Cunard Line refused to occupy the proposed pier, although they were to get it substantially without rent, should have been enough to kill the scheme, but the economic folly of building an additional unnecessary terminal for the Boston and Albany road, for which the State would have to pay a yearly loss of upward of $150,000, made the contemplated expenditure absurd. As has been previously stated, this project was immediately abandoned. There were other purchases of land under water, the wisdom of which is seriously in question, but nothing is to be gained by further talking over spilt milk.

DREDGING

"In the matter of dredging, the prices paid during the year prior to July 1, 1914, are substantially twice what this same work is being done for to-day, while formerly all dredged material was towed to sea which is now utilized for filling State lands.

"I wish publicly to express my appreciation of the advice and assistance of a group of men appointed by the President of the Chamber of Commerce, including the Chairman of this meeting, Mr. Smith, with former presidents and chairmen of leading committees of the Chamber, who have been good enough to go over these matters as presented and advise me. I think these men will some time assure the public that I have endeavored to follow the Golden Rule while trying to do my duty, and especially to bear in mind that any scandal affecting the integrity of the port administration might reflect unfavorably on the business reputation of the port, and therefore that all charity and forbearance must be exercised.

"The situation, however, precluded the possibility that absolute secrecy could be observed. It is impossible, even if it were right to do so, to keep an alert press in the dark in such matters, so that certain premature publicity has resulted, which was neither desired nor sought by the Port Directors.

"The present Board found the department on an inefficient basis; the pay-rolls overloaded with political appointees, some with little qualification for their positions, the percentage from the Civil Service lists being small. As laborers were exempt from the Civil Service regulations, men with that title were quite generally used in the engineering department in supervising construction, etc. The resulting average salary of the Engineering Department employee in the construction of Pier 5 was probably lower than that of the contractor's constructing force. Technically trained men suffered because of the worthlessness of the inefficient, and no incentive was given to do good work. This is in part responsible for the results shown. The department has been reorganized, its numbers reduced to about half, moderate increases have been given the qualified men, and employees of all grades seem to be interested and enthusiastic in their work, now that they understand that political influence is not required either for appointment or promotion.

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

"After reorganizing the department, every effort was directed to give the commercial bodies in Boston what they had long been asking for, a comprehensive plan to control future port development and stop the haphazard efforts made during the last forty years. Some thirtynine plans by experts were found made at great cost during a period of twenty years, each proposing a scheme for the development of East Boston alone. Other plans for South Boston were found. In 1911, the Boston Chamber of Commerce appointed a committee of experts to work out a comprehensive plan for the port, which assembled the good points in all the various plans known to them. This work of the Chamber of Commerce was stopped by the appointment of the first Board of Port Directors, who refused, however, to work out any comprehensive plan. The present Board took the opposite view, and the best features of all existing studies were incorporated in a new plan, from which harbor lines were established and submitted to the Legislature for approval, which was granted by Chapter 334, Acts of 1915. These harbor lines were adopted subsequently by the Secretary of War. This has definitely settled once and for all an approved development for the harbor of Boston along broad and useful lines, with a vision to the needs of the coming as well as the present generation.

"This harbor line revision allows the reclamation of millions of square feet of State flats now under water; it provides for the comprehensive development of Boston Harbor and its terminals. It is with extreme satisfaction that we can report that the organizations in Boston for civic or social betterment, such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Massachusetts Real Estate Exchange, the City Planning Board, etc., have approved these plans and are supporting the Port Board. These plans comprehend a systematic filling of the State flats lying between Jeffries Point and Governor's Island by the utilization of the dredged material from the harbor which heretofore has been towed to sea and dumped.

"The filled area will provide accommodations for piers, wharves, and warehouses, with industrial sites and power plant. Provision has been made for the ultimate connection by belt lines, tunnels, and lighterage systems for all the railroads that may ever enter Boston.

"There are about 180 acres, including piers, of State lands at South Boston under the jurisdiction of the Directors, which has been made by filling. A small portion is at present under lease, but the balance is available for commercial purposes. Some of this property has valuable water-front rights.

"The ultimate development in South Boston, as contemplated by the recently adopted plan, includes the filling of an additional 163 acres of flats, making a total of about 343 acres of available land at South Boston alone.

"The property of the Commonwealth at East Boston includes about 4 acres of filled land now available for commercial purposes, and about 844 acres of flats which, in accordance with the adopted plan, will ultimately be filled. The proposed plan for the development of the harbor

will make available for commercial and other purposes over 50,000,000 square feet of State land.

"Estimating the value of lands now filled at $2 per square foot, gives them a present value of 13,000,000 dollars. Flats now under water, if valued when filled at 50 cents per square foot, would amount to more than $20,000,000 more, making the total future asset of State lands under the jurisdiction of the Directors over $33,000,000.

"The opportunity for industrial expansion is much greater in East Boston than in South Boston, but the construction of the dry dock and the building by private capital of machine and repair shops in its vicinity, as well as the offers now being received for purchase or lease of Commonwealth lands in South Boston, make the prospects of development for the South Boston district very bright.

"It is the hope of the Directors that not another dollar shall be spent until the revenues from whatever development is contemplated are shown to be sufficient so that the burden of debt of the Commonwealth will not be increased; or if that is not possible, any development which is not self-sustaining should be publicly acknowledged and entered into on the theory that the loss will be compensated and understood as in the case of the dry dock. This is fundamental. The five millions of the nine millions spent by the original Port Board involve an annual loss to the Commonwealth under present conditions of over $400,000 which, capitalized at the exact rate of interest the State pays for borrowed money, means an addition to the debt of the Commonwealth in 25 years of over $16,000,000.

THE TERMINAL SITUATION

"The comprehensive port plan being agreed on, the next step is the question of the railroads and their relation to the port problems, for port development is terminal development, and its problems are engineering, operating, or traffic ones. Under present conditions there is no separate port of Boston, but as many ports as there are railroads, because each railroad controls a separate port of the water-front with little or no cooperation for the general good between the roads.

"Since 1836 the railroads have been acquiring water-front property in Boston. As far as business Boston is concerned, the city is divided by the Boston and Albany road, and it is generally easier for the shipper on the north or south side of the city to send goods to New York than it is to transfer them to the other side of Boston. Shippers have become accustomed to sending goods to the north side of Boston by a detour which takes in Attleboro, Framingham, Concord, and Somerville, and vice versa, until, like the man with a wart on his nose, they accept it as a matter of course. At Boston, our engineering problems, thanks to our natural advantages, are comparatively simple. Our troubles are those of cooperation and traffic. The quick and earnest cooperation of the Boston railroads will solve the question of operation, and this done, the solution of the traffic problem will come automatically.

"The present situation favors the west at New England's expense.

Imports and exports between any part of the Port of Boston and any point west of the Hudson River move on a 'flat Boston rate,' and necessary switching at this port is absorbed without charge in the rate. When switching is necessary at Boston, on import and export merchandise to and from New England points it must be paid for in addition to the Boston rate. This amounts to a discrimination against local shippers.

"If advantage is taken of a clause in the Commonwealth Pier contract, whereby the New Haven and the Boston and Maine Railroads promise to install a carfloating service, and share equally with each other the expense, the Boston and Maine Railroad will at once relieve itself of the switching burden it is now carrying on export and import freight, and reduce transfer costs from I cent to 1⁄2 cent per hundred pounds, a saving of 50 per cent. on this class of freight. On domestic freight exchanged between the two roads, the reduction would be from 2 cents to 1⁄2 cent per hundred pounds, a saving of 75 per cent. It is estimated that in both instances the time of transfer could be reduced from 12 to 2 hours. Carfloating, which would reduce switching 50 to 75 per cent. in cost and 80 per cent. in time, is based on a maximum cost because only the minimum of carfloat movement has been considered. The greater the increase in business the less the cost per ton. To appreciate the possible economies of such a service, we need only compare the maximum estimated cost of 20 cents per ton under this plan, with the actual cost of 4 cents per ton shown at the Bush Terminal in New York, for a transfer of from 8 to 10 miles against 2 miles in Boston.

"The Boston and Albany has at present adequate freight exchange facilities with the Boston and Maine at East Somerville, but none with the New Haven except through the South Passenger Terminal. The establishment of a carfloating service between the Boston and Maine and the New Haven would force the Boston and Albany to install a similar carfloat stage to transfer with the New Haven.

"Inasmuch as the Boston and Maine and the New Haven now have carfloat stages, which are but little used, it is within the financial power of the three railroads to substitute carfloating for switching, thereby reducing transfer costs to the minimum and making it possible to give all parts of the port the flat Boston rate, and thus solve for the shipper the immediate and most pressing local terminal problem at this port.

A BELT LINE

"Some day the people of Massachusetts will demand that there shall be an adequate belt line around Boston in addition to a lighterage system, such as has been proposed. This can be accomplished by extending the Grand Junction Road from Cottage Farm, where it meets the main line of the Boston and Albany, to the South Bay yards of the New Haven. This project presents no engineering difficulties and can be done at a moderate cost. This belt line is not immediately necessary if a carfloat service is established, but it should be provided, because, until it is, the railroad service at Boston is not complete.

"With an efficient water transfer; with the water-front Union Freight

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