Sen. Charles Schumer was in Oswego Wednesday to announce that the city's port has received some much needed equipment.
Schumer helped port officials secure a new container reach stacker, along with a dump truck and two generators from the federal government's surplus equipment program. He says the reach stacker will help the port be more efficient and save money.
"It's a forklift that can handle heavy shipments, so the port didn't have to lease a crane at great expense to handle heavy shipments," Schumer said. "The Federal Surplus Property Program owned a few of these stackers, and I asked one to deliver to Oswego."
The port also received a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to install four new cameras, giving it a 360 degree view of the property. The additional cameras raise the port's total to 30, making it the most secure port in the Great Lakes system, Schumer said.
The senator says the improvements, which include last year's announcement of a Department of Transportation grant to repair the port's rail line, are part of an ongoing process to keep the port growing.
"We've made some huge strides," Schumer said. "Last year, the port contributed $1 billion to the local economy, employing directly and indirectly hundreds of workers. That's a huge sum. And with these three new additions - the rail line, the stacker and the security - for the Port of Oswego, the best is yet to come."
Port of Oswego Director Zelko Kirincich says the new equipment is another step toward making Oswego the prime port in the eastern Great Lakes.
"It's a basic foundation," Kirincich said. "We have the tools. We can do the job correctly, efficiently and its's one of the first things to come. I envision a lot more. I envision there being a lot of activity in the port, come summertime. So this is a great foundation. Sen. Charles Schumer has been one of the leading champions. I'm here to thank him."
Kirincich says the improvements are a step in the right direction for a port looking to continue making a name for itself.
"I think we're truly getting there," Kirincich said. "I think the addition of the rail and all the extra land, extra capacity at Oswego is going to be national news."
The new equipment comes nearly one year after a $1.5 million grant from the D.O.T. to make critical upgrades to the port's rail lines. Kirincich says the rail line repairs should be completed later this year, and will increase the number of cars the port can handle annually by 500.