20 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • AUGUST 2019
CAPTAIN SHIPS LOCAL PRODUCE BETWEEN LI, CT
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Harbor Harvest seeks to be an
eco-friendly farm-to-fork distribution
network. Kunkel said the key
to his ferry service is to transport
farm produce, and even some small
packages, across the Sound in about
45 minutes, compared to several
hours by trucks traveling the Long
Island Expressway and I-95. Kunkel
said his service will not only be
faster, but cheaper and more environmentally
friendly than trucking.
“The country became enamored
with the trucking industry,” says
Kunkel, a marine engineer. That
began, he noted, once President
Dwight Eisenhower instituted the
Federal Highway Act in 1956, calling
for the construction of 41,000 miles
of an interstate highway system,
then the largest public works project
in American history.
Three years ago, Kunkel and
Derecktor Shipyards of Mamaroneck,
in Westchester County, one
of the last of the famous New York
shipbuilders, developed the hybrid
boat, which runs on an electric
battery system. The boat has 300
square feet of open cargo space, 100
square feet of indoor covered cargo
space and 140 square feet of walk-in
Kunkel said several Long Island
and Connecticut produce companies
and wineries have expressed
interest in signing on with his ferry
In a recent major boost, Harbor
Harvest was awarded a $1.8 million
grant from the U.S. Department of
Transportation’s Maritime Administration,
which will help defray the
cost of building a second boat, which
is now in the planning stages. The
money is also to be used to build
docking space in Huntington.
“The goal…is to provide a viable
source of waterborne transportation
for Connecticut and Long Island
farmers and manufacturers by connecting
in addition to creating produce markets
in both Connecticut and New
York,” the Maritime Administration
said in announcing the grant.
The ferry service has already won
high praise from environmentalists.
“We think this is an absolutely
wonderful idea,” says Adrienne
Esposito, executive director of the
Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
“The farm-to-table movement
is growing across the country, and
this service is coming along at just
the right time.”
The future of waterway shipping
could be very bright indeed.
The New York City Economic Development
Corporation (NYCEDC) has
issued a request for proposals to companies
or individuals interested in
opening a new marine terminal in the
South Bronx to serve businesses on
the Hunts Point Peninsula, in hopes of
providing an alternative to trucking
to move food and other products.
“We understand that highway congestion
is chronic in New York,” says
Andrew Genn, senior vice president
of ports and terminals for the NYCEDC.
“We certainly don’t want to
end all trucking, but to make the
system more resilient. The cross-
Sound project is a good idea.”
For his part, Kunkel is happy to be
sailing the Sound.
“I’ve been working on this a long
time,” he says. “We’re going to open
new markets here.”
“We’re going to open new markets,"
says Robert Kunkel.
Expires 11/30/19 Post & Crown Additional. Expires 11/30/19