PORTLAND — An Icelandic shipping company has signed a contract to begin operations the International Marine Terminal, Gov. Paul LePage announced in a press release Tuesday.

The company, Eimskip, operates a fleet of 16 cargo ships in the North Atlantic and will make port at the terminal every 14 days. The service will give Maine businesses direct import and export access to markets in eastern Canada and Europe, the release said.

Eimskip expects to hire employees to support its Portland operations, and the new service may also create related jobs in trucking and warehousing, according to the release.

The announcement comes two months after the Maine Port Authority received a $150,000 federal grant to develop a new type of ship that could restore cargo shipping between the terminal and East Coast ports.

In 2009, the port authority took over operations of the city-owned terminal on West Commercial Street near the Casco Bay Bridge.

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