The Port of Providence, R.I., is celebrating the completion of a $20 million facility improvement project made possible by a 2010 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

On Monday, government officials including Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen gathered at the port to christen a new crane barge, the Sandy C., marking the conclusion of work to enhance ProvPort’s cargo handling capabilities.

The Sandy C. and a pair of high-performance cranes delivered in 2013 were funded in part by a $10.5 million Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the U.S. DOT.

“This project is precisely what the Obama Administration had in mind when it created TIGER – a transformative infrastructure project that not only helps shape this country’s future, but one that also opens the floodgates of opportunity across America,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The $10.5 million TIGER grant also supported the purchase of a marine barge, as well as specialized equipment that allow the cranes to move a variety of cargo. The new cranes can transfer cargo to and from vessels twice as fast as the old cranes, according to a statement from the U.S. DOT, and the barge enables cargo transfer for vessels too large to be positioned at the dock. Taken together, these enhancements modernize port infrastructure, facilitate the expansion of bulk operations, and support the development of container operations, the DOT said.

“An investment in maritime infrastructure is an investment in the future,” said Administrator Jaenichen. “When you boost port capability and capacity, you create a long-lasting economic engine that will benefit the local and regional economies for decades.”

ProvPort is among the busiest ports in the Northeast. According to port officials, ProvPort has generated an estimated $200 million total economic impact on the region, provided more than $60 million in direct business revenues and $16 million in revenue to local and state governments.

“I am grateful to Secretary Foxx and Administrator Jaenichen for their leadership and commitment to enhancing our infrastructure,” said Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed. “Rhode Island is a maritime state, it’s part of our heritage and key to our future. Our ports have a strategic location and room for growth, and I am committed to modernizing our port infrastructure and creating good-paying, sustainable jobs. Thanks to federal transportation funding, we have made major improvements here at ProvPort as well as at our small shipyards and the Port of Davisville. By expanding capacity and improving both dockside facilities and inland connections, our ports can increase the volume of business.”

To date, 43 TIGER grants totaling nearly $524 million have been awarded to U.S. ports and maritime transportation projects.