Published Date Written by Craig LyonsContainer service will soon restart at Portland's International Marine Terminal now that the Maine Port Authority has signed a contract with an Icelandic shipping company.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage announced Tuesday that Eimskip, the Icelandic Steamship Company, signed a contract with the authority to restore container service to the port, according to a press release. Contracts and negotiations are still being finalized with Eimskip, and service is set to start in March.
"Maine's economy will be strengthened by this new service and accessibility to markets," LePage said, in a statement. "Maine produces some of the best products in the world and this investment by Eimskip is a testament to that quality. I applaud Eimskip and thank them for this great opportunity which enables Maine to share our products with more people while growing our economy."
Eimskip will dock in Portland every 14 days, according to the governor's office, and link Maine businesses with ports in Canada and Europe. The Icelandic company will also partner with PanAm Railways to move freight across the United States.
"We are excited by the opportunity this new service offers to Maine businesses. This service offers both increased market access and entirely new market opportunities," said John Henshaw, executive director of the Maine Port Authority, in a statement.
Portland will replace Norfolk, Va., as the company's port of call in North America, according to an Eimskip press release, and will shorten the transit time from Europe. Eimskip will still receive shipments in Virginia and New York.
Eimskip chose the International Marine Terminal for its location, the facility met the needs of the company's customers and is well equipped to handle the service given the recent renovations, according to a press release.
Eimskip will operate a warehouse and office at the terminal.
The company aims to create new jobs at its Portland facility and create other accessory jobs through the trucking and warehousing industries.
In April, the International Marine Terminal lost service from American Feeder Lines — which ran between Portland and Halifax. At the same time the terminal lost service, the facility was undergoing more than $5 million worth of upgrades.
“I think this is a game changer,” said Mayor Michael Brennan.
It’s an opportunity for a company to come to Portland and bring containers, freight and service to New England, Brennan said. Brennan said the service being brought to the terminal is the best one possible.
“It’s very exciting,” he said.