The head of Icelandic shipping company Eimskip is resigning from that job to lead the company’s North American division, including its U.S. headquarters in Portland.

Gylfi Sigfússon has been Eimskip CEO for 10 years, but will step down from the post at the end of the year and move to the United States, the company said in a news release.

Sigfússon ran Eimskip’s American and Canadian operations before he was tapped to restructure the company after the 2008 global financial crisis, which hit Iceland especially hard.

“The reorganization of the company was a big challenge for the employees, but the results were fruitful and now the company is heading into exciting future,” Sigfússon said in the news release. Company directors are looking for a new CEO.

The volume and value of shipments by container through the International Marine Terminal in Portland have more than doubled since Eimskip moved its U.S. headquarters to the city in 2013. Last year the shipping company started weekly service to Maine from Iceland, through Newfoundland and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“I will lead further progression of the company in North America, but our weekly sailing system is the cornerstone of the service,” Sigfússon said.

Eimskip’s North American operations include offices in Portland, New York, Boston and Norfolk, Virginia, and a Canadian headquarters, two cold-storage warehouses and a freight-forwarding company in Newfoundland.

While Andrew Haines will stay on as head of Eimskip USA, Sigfússon will oversee business in North America, Haines said. Having a veteran executive in charge should give the growing service a higher profile, Haines said.

Volume on Eimskip’s trans-Atlantic line has grown 40 percent in 2018, according to the company’s third-quarter financial report. The trans-Atlantic route was 6 percent of the company’s overall liner services volume at the time of the report, slightly more than the year before.

I think the focus is here,” he said. “We have had tremendous growth in the past six years. I think the company has seen that.”

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