Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation RFEI


Based in New York’s Hudson Valley, the Center for Post Carbon Logistics (the Center) is engaged in a long-running campaign to bring the idea of coastal trade under sail and other zero emission vessels  back to the United States. The Center is currently focusing on turning the New York -New Jersey Harbor and Hudson Valley into a world-class sail freight hub for training, ship building, sailmaking, trade in small wind ships, and resilient working waterfronts. Implementation is underway; cohosting the Conference On Small Scale Inland And Coastal Sail Freight at the Hudson River Maritime Museum with Schooner Apollonia in November 2022, supporting the Northeast Grain Race of 2022, and other similar initiatives. The Center also responded to “Blue Highways RFEI: “NYC DOT, EDC Seek Creative Solutions to Move More Freight Via Waterways Instead of Roadways,” and has provided technical comments on several New York City waterfront plans, RFEIs. and RFPs.

The Center’s publications include the Sail Freight Handbook, now in its second edition, and the Rondout Riverport 2040, a detailed imagination of a working waterfront future for Kingston. Other publications, including an Apprentice Sailor’s Handbook, are under development to support additional training efforts. The Center’s training programs are being developed for sailmaking, working sail, cargo handling, boatbuilding, traditional rigging, designing climate adapted small ports, and other specialties. These courses are planned to be offered starting in 2024, in cooperation with other organizations in the region. 


As shipyard and fabrication work is a good training ground for a number of skilled trades, including welders, metal fabricators, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and cabinetmakers, solar panel installers, riggers, and others, this is a prime industry to take advantage of the training programs offered at BNY. These trades can all create pipelines from the training programs currently hosted at Brooklyn Naval Yard, providing approximately 35-50 permanent jobs and contract or internship jobs for potentially dozens more technicians depending on order-book status.

The products of this facility will not only provide the devices and vehicles necessary for Energy Transition, they will create jobs both fabricating and operations. The fabrication shop employment numbers have been enumerated above, but each vessel launched will require between 4-12 sailors, each bike and trailer set will require a rider, and maintainers for these last-mile machines will also be required. These second-order job impacts can be significant, and while not all of them will accumulate to New York City due to exports, a considerable number will remain in the Metro Area and New York State. For many of the ships, New York sailors may well be the crew, regardless of where in the world they end up sailing.


Forming a Coalition for a Zero Carbon Maritime Future in Brooklyn

This future at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is currently beyond the capabilities of the Center for Post Carbon Logistics and its partner organizations, but it is not beyond the capabilities of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. There are a wide range of shipyards in the New York Metro Area, and businesses seeking to acquire new-build vessels for Blue Highways work in the Northeast US region. Finding supporting organizations and initial customers for this endeavor should not be difficult if the BNYDC wishes to pursue this sustainable maritime future for the site. Your letters of support (sample included after our letter) will enable us to build the kind of coalition necessary to convince the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation to use the facility for what it was designed to do. The Center for Post Carbon Logistics is ready to assist in the design, construction, and operations of  a new shipyard at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Please add your comments so that the request for proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment is compatible with these near zero emission maritime uses.

The following is a letter from the Center for Post Carbon Logistics responding to Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI. Also included is a draft letter of support.

June 17, 2024

Andrew Tran Director of Development

Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation

141 Flushing Ave, Building 77, Unit 801

Brooklyn, NY 11205

Director Tran and All Concerned,

The following is the Center for Post Carbon Logistics (the Center) response to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC) RFEI for the unique opportunity to develop a 2.75-acre site on the Brooklyn waterfront for clean energy infrastructure or the production of climate technology.

The intent of the BNYDC’s RFEI is to gather information about how the BNYDC can facilitate the development, production and deployment of a significant amount of [energy transition] “devices” of varying sizes and scales (i.e. heat pumps, solar panels, electric vehicle chargers, transmission stations, battery energy storage systems, to name a few).  BNYDC has a rare opportunity to redevelop the Site to provide critically needed clean energy infrastructure and/or establish industrial space that will develop products addressing climate change and create jobs in New York City’s emerging “green economy.”

Ironically the one “device” whose manufacture is most suited to the site is not mentioned – zero emission ships. These ships, now being built in Europe and Asia include both old and new technology that directly addresses climate change.  These designs innovatively combine efficient battery storage, electric motors, solar panels, modern and traditional wind propulsion technology, materials, and ship building technology.  With a shipyard available in New York Harbor, these vessels would join the repurposed and purpose built ships in operation right now on the Hudson River and the Harbor.

Locally built, from locally sourced and recycled materials, crewed with locally trained mariners, home ported along the Hudson, the Harbor, and the canals, carrying locally grown, locally processed, and locally manufactured goods – with liberty from fossil fuels, these future proof ships will be a positive disruption to the status quo.

The Center is a New York based non-profit organization working to connect communities through resilient and sustainable maritime trade. By supporting the development of climate resilient small ports, sail and solar electric cargo and passenger vessels, and human-scale last-mile logistics solutions throughout the Hudson Valley and Northeast US, the Center advocates for a post-carbon freight network in our own region and across the nation. We work with a coalition of operators of zero/low carbon emission vessels,

Page 2, The Center for Post Carbon Logistics response to Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation RFEI

cargo owners, naval architects, mariners, boat builders, advocates, and researchers all focused on re-building the long-neglected regional “Blue Highways.“

In light of New York City’s array of initiatives to increase maritime freight transport, including DockNYC, Blue Highways, NYC Working Waterfront Plan, Freight NYC, and others, it makes sense that New York would want to see the vessels and infrastructure needed to implement these plans manufactured in New York as an example for the entire nation. The Brooklyn Navy Yard is one of the few places this could be done in the Northeast, let alone New York City, and ships for other regions and international trade could also be built for export in this facility.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard produced US military ships from 1801 to 1966, and through 1975 constructed multiple 220,000-ton Very Large Crude Carriers, tug and barge units, and barges under a commercial shipyard. In 2011 the site was a finalist for constructing a new class of chemical carriers for US Domestic and international buyers. Clearly this facility is still an important American maritime asset, and the offered facility was built as the main fabrication shop for commercial ship construction. The fully enclosed building is empty, with reinforced floors, oversize doors, overhead cranes, and industrial utilities, and there are various public and private incentives available for modernization and upgrades.

The US currently lags in design and construction of low-carbon ships to re-develop a sustainable marine highway system. This does not need to be the case, and a coalition of shipbuilders, naval architects, ship operators, and others can easily be built to make New York and the Brooklyn Navy Yard a central part of the shipbuilding industry once again. The site is ideal for bringing existing successful green vessel designs to the US for domestic trade, and selected export markets. In so doing, scores of permanent maritime and ship yard  jobs will be created at BNY, with dozens more seasonal trade jobs, and hundreds of jobs aboard the vessels launched from this facility, which can be incorporated with existing training programs.

The RFEI is open only to “Clean Energy Infrastructure” and “Climate Solutions Urban Manufacturing” proposals.  Shipbuilding falls under the latter category and is a strategically important nationally. There are few locations available for and have the capacity for shipbuilding activities, whereas hundreds of locations could be used to build the devices mentioned in the RFEI. Assigning this essential maritime resource to a use which does not require its unique set of circumstances will be a significant blow to future domestic shipbuilding capabilities. This is a matter of National importance considering Jones Act restrictions for domestic trade which require vessels carrying passengers or cargo between two US ports be US built, flagged, and owned, as well as crewed by US citizens or nationals. The US shipbuilding industry is already close to capacity just maintaining and building Navy contracts, leaving little capacity for civilian construction. Diverting possible resources for other uses is a blow not only to the national and global maritime energy transition, but to the possibility of taking the quickest and longest-proven method of reducing roadway traffic congestion, fossil fuel dependence, and transportation-based greenhouse gas emissions by mode-shifting freight to marine highways.

This is a chance to continue a centuries-long tradition at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, while achieving all of the BNYDC’s goals, and supporting additional City, State, and Federal initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, and foster innovation in industry.  The current opportunity at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is an unprecedented opportunity to kickstart the construction and employment of short sea, canal, coastal, and cross-harbor near-zero emissions vessels, that will be employed in New York Harbor, the

Page 3, The Center for Post Carbon Logistics response to Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation RFEI

Hudson River, New York State Canal System, and beyond. The site’s history and current situation both lend themselves to this use, and a coalition of the necessary organizations to make this work is already forming around New York Harbor.  We look forward to working alongside you in making this sustainable maritime future a reality.


Andrew Willner

Executive Director


Andrew Tran

Director of Development

The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation

141 Flushing Ave, Building 77, Unit 801

Brooklyn, NY 11205

Director Tran and All Concerned,

We write today in support of the proposed plan by the Center for Post Carbon Logistics to revive domestic shipbuilding at Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Building 293. The National, State, Regional, and Local importance of this proposal cannot be understated. Modal shift of freight to maritime highways is the best and most immediate means of reducing air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion and casualties, and fossil fuel dependence in the Northeast US and beyond.

Due to the Jones Act of 1920, vessels carrying cargo between two US Ports must be US built, owned, flagged, and crewed, and there are few facilities remaining which can build advanced, 21st century cargo vessels for cross-harbor, short sea, and long distance coastal trade. The number of well paid permanent green jobs generated directly and indirectly by returning this portion of the Brooklyn Navy Yard to shipbuilding will likely number in the hundreds, while creating the hardware needed to realize the vision of New York City as a world hub of green maritime transportation and an example for the world’s energy transition.

[Paragraph describing organization and further reasons for support]


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