March 28, 2013

Hopes high as shipper starts Maine service

The ship due to arrive Friday holds just 40 containers as direct service to Europe resumes after 33 years.

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Larus Isfeld, a senior manager at Eimskip, talks about storing bulk freight, such as water from Iceland, in Sprague's climate-controlled warehouse at Merrill's Marine Terminal in Portland. Listening are Joanne Gibbons, Eimskip's freight forwarding manager in St. John's, Newfoundland, and Arnand Demers, director of forest products/materials handling for Sprague.

Tom Bell / Staff Writer

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This is one of the two Eimskip container ships that will be calling on the port of Portland, starting this month. This ship is the Reykjafoss.

Photo courtesy Eimskip Logistics

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Not only will it save money on trucking costs by going through the port of Portland, it will be more convenient, with fewer delays, he said.

"Overall, I think it's a fantastic opportunity for everybody," he said.

Businesses won't have to fill entire containers to ship products through Portland. Eimskip will be able to consolidate pallets from multiple shippers into a single container, said Kelly L'Heureux, general manager of the Falmouth office for OCEANAIR Inc., a freight forwarder that provides international transportation logistics services.

She said she expects Eimskip will eventually deliver cargo to Asia by transporting the containers to Asian-bound steamship lines at the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Eimskip officials have said they don't need to attract new customers for the service to be viable. They've been operating out of Norfolk, Va., for decades and expect to keep most of their current customers as they move their hub to Portland.

Still, developing more business from Maine would assure that Eimskip stays in Portland, L'Heureux said.

"As the service develops, I am hoping the Maine clientele will be able to grow so it's efficient and prosperous for everyone," she said.


Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at:

Twitter: @TomBellPortland


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