We have a generational opportunity before us, and we should seize it. We can help our food and beverage industry compete in global markets while ensuring the revival of our historic port. The construction of a state-of-the-art cold-storage facility on the Portland waterfront would provide that opportunity.

But opponents are pushing an alternative plan that would never get built because it is economically unfeasible.

In a May 12 Maine Voices column (“City on brink of huge mistake: Cold-storage facility far bigger than needed“), Mark McCain and Sidney St. F. Thaxter say we should build a smaller facility or one just for Eimskip.

Their argument raises the question: Who would build it?

The city of Portland has spent 18 years investigating the possibility of bringing cold storage to the waterfront. Until Americold submitted its proposal in 2015, no entity had been convinced that such a facility would be viable. Now this project is possible because of Eimskip’s presence here, and their position as the premier carrier of refrigerated cargo in the North Atlantic.

Opponents say a smaller warehouse is good enough. But that is wishful thinking. A smaller facility would lack the efficiencies of scale needed to operate competitively.

Opponents say we should build a warehouse just big enough for Eimskip. But no one would build a facility for a single customer. A diverse customer base is necessary to lower risk and make the project financially viable.

We should not stifle the potential of homegrown Portland businesses by building a facility that is not only overly modest but also uncompetitive. Doing so would forgo the opportunity to advance an industry that could be an important part of our future.