PORTLAND (AP) — State officials have announced plans to double the size of Portland’s shipping container terminal and link it to a rail line to help it compete with other major East Coast ports.

The expanded International Marine Terminal would lower costs for commercial customers, make shipping faster and more efficient and attract new cargo business to Maine, officials said.

The expanded terminal would allow longshoremen to unload containers from ships and load them to trains in the same terminal using a new internal road.

The cost of the expansion was not disclosed, but the state plans to put the project out for bids in June. The project would be funded with a portion of $24 million set aside in a transportation bond approved in November. The expansion involves taking several acres of privately owned land by eminent domain because of a dispute over its value.

The project represents the first time in 50 years the port can realize its potential, John Henshaw, executive director of the Maine Port Authority, told the Portland Press Herald.

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