September 13, 2013

Mainers in Iceland growing an Arctic partnership

State officials are in Reykjavik to explore the needs of a new shipping link that offers great potential for the Pine Tree State.

By Tom Bell
Staff Writer

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An Eimskip truck carrying a container of fresh lamb drives past the Hvalfjordur fjord in western Iceland on its way to Reykjavek on Tuesday. The container was put on the container ship Skogafoss, which left Reykjavik on Wednesday and is scheduled to arrive in Portland on Sept. 20.

Tom Bell/Staff Writer

State officials say they want to extend Pan Am Railways' tracks about 1,500 feet from western Commercial Street. They have been negotiating for several months with landowners and the railway, without reaching a deal.

In Iceland this week, Henshaw and Arnold have been checking their email, hoping for good news on those negotiations to bring to Friday's meeting with Eimskip.

The state officials have other good news for Eimskip. The biggest is that Gov. Paul LePage has dedicated $24 million from a proposed transportation bond for improvements to intermodal facilities such as the development on Portland's waterfront.

Also, after Henshaw and Arnold toured the Eimskip terminal in Reykjavik this week, the Maine Port Authority decided to order a $500,000 reach stacker, a vehicle that moves shipping containers, with money from the state Department of Transportation.

The new, faster machine would replace a 13-year-old reach stacker at the International Marine Terminal.

On Wednesday at the Eimskip terminal, Arnold operated a reach stacker made in Sweden, the same model the state plans to buy.

When he climbed down from the vehicle, Arnold appeared excited.

"You can see how quick and efficient it is when we do have the right stuff," he said.

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

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