New Bedford announces HDC rebranding to Port Authority

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — The Harbor Development Commission of New Bedford will be changing its name to the New Bedford Port Authority as the city continues to further grow and develop the economy along the waterfront.

At an announcement Wednesday morning at the commission’s headquarters on Fisherman’s Wharf, Mayor Jon Mitchell said the change is partly based on how much the port is branching out in business – with a long history in the fishing industry, the port is now adding more cargo and recreational business – and could also add wind power down the road.

“We want to make sure that we plan well so that all these industries can coexist successfully here, and that more jobs are available for folks in our city,” Mitchell said.

As part of the evolution to the Port Authority, the city is also announcing a strategic plan to accommodate the business growth. Among the improvements already in progress are upgrades to the city’s pier terminals.

In the past few years, Mitchell said there’s been a 67-percent increase in out-of-state vessels offloading fish in the city.

New Bedford is the largest commercial fishing port and the center of the fishing industry on the East Coast, Mitchell said, providing 2 percent of the gross domestic product for the state of Massachusetts as well as 7,000 jobs.