News Release for August 16, 2010

For more Information:
Paul Merrill, Public Information Officer - 207-624-3355 or 207-215-9297
John Henshaw - Executive Director, Maine Port Authority - 624-3564


Maine Container Shipping obtains key federal designation

Maine’s marine-based container-shipping feeder service, which operates out of Portland’s International Marine Terminal (IMT), has been selected as one of eight projects nationwide to be part of the U.S. DOT’s Marine Highway Program. Yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood designated the container feeder service, which runs between Portland, Boston, and New York, as a “project” within the program. This designation makes the service eligible for federal funding. The Maine Port Authority applied for this status to enable the authority to identify and deploy a new vessel for the container service.

The container feeder service has been running between Portland, Boston and the Port of New York/New Jersey since 1995, and consistently since 2007, without subsidy, demonstrating its viability as a sustainable short-sea shipping connection. The service has provided a vital transportation alternative for the forest-products industry in the state. Employing a more reliable vessel to replace the tug and barge will enable the service to attract new customers, particularly on the import side. A more balanced, reliable and sustainable service would meet one of the major objectives of the federal Marine Highway Program of removing trucks from the road and thereby reducing emissions, reducing traffic congestion on the I-95 corridor, reducing highway maintenance requirements, and improving highway safety.

Marine Highway Program projects represent new or expanded marine highway services that offer promise of public benefit and long-term sustainability. Projects such as this expansion of Maine’s container feeder service will receive preferential treatment for any future federal assistance from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD). These projects are planned to help start new businesses, or expand existing ones, in order to move more freight or passengers along America’s coastlines and waterways. Maine’s project has the potential to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion along surface corridors, as well as provide jobs for skilled mariners and shipbuilders. The project was selected from among 35 applications received by MARAD from ports and local transportation planning agencies.

For further information, contact John Henshaw, Executive Director of the Maine Port Authority, by phone at (207) 624-3564 or (207) 592-5167 or via e-mail at