The Eimskip container terminal project on West Commercial Street is impressive, as the Press Herald editorial writers noted recently (“Our View: State investments in port starting to pay off,” Feb. 2).

Portland now has a trans-Atlantic ocean transportation service based in a modern marine terminal with truck and rail service. This is Maine’s new link to international markets, an asset to Maine businesses in the future and a testament to the value of working waterfronts.

Where did this project come from? A few years ago, at the recommendation of then-City Manager Joe Gray, the Portland City Council leased this property (which it owned and I once managed) to the Maine Port Authority. This is a quiet, hard-working agency led by a talented board of directors and run by an executive who is recognized as a port leader here in the Northeast.

With this property transfer, wheels began to turn. Picture the City Council members, equipped with their common sense and faith in their city manager, taking this step.

Then picture the members of the Maine Port Authority board, volunteers from all across the state, guiding this extraordinary project month after month, assessing its risks and opportunities, and putting their reputations on the line with each vote they took.

The value of public service, both elected and volunteer, and the benefits it can bring, is perhaps underappreciated by the general public these days, but here is an example of how powerful that service can be.

Tom Valleau

executive director, North Atlantic Ports Association Inc.


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