PORTLAND — Container ship service that operates between Portland and Boston and New York has received a designation that makes it eligible for federal funding.

The service operating from Portland’s International Marine Terminal has been selected as one of eight projects nationwide to be part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Marine Highway Program.

The Maine Port Authority hopes to deploy a new vessel for the container service.

The container feeder service, which currently utilizes a tug and barge, has been running without subsidy between Portland, Boston and the Port of New York/New Jersey since 1995, and consistently since 2007.