Portland's Exciting Port: Growth In Shipping and New Connections

Tall Ships Portland 2015 is just one element of the busy port of Portland. In the past few years the port has seen a big increase in container traffic as a result of the commitment made by Eimskip, an Iceland-based steamship company.

An Eimskip ship is loaded with containers. Photo by Portland Press Herald Staff Photographer John Patriquin

An Eimskip ship is loaded with containers. Photo by Portland Press Herald Staff Photographer John Patriquin


Since 2014, Portland has become a major shipping hub, thanks to Eimskip. The Icelandic company moves products like fish and blueberries from Portland to Northern European markets, and has reinforced Portland harbor as a commercial shipping center. 

    Eimskip and the Maine International Marine Terminal both provide jobs and continued growth to Portland Harbor, and the expansion of this connection looks to continue, as The Maine Port Authority has recently announced a plan to construct a cold storage facility overlooking Portland Harbor in collaboration with Eimskip. This facility will fill a gap in Portland’s ability to ship goods that must be refrigerated, an issue that had previously stymied Portland shipping. In addition, an expansion of Portland rail lines looks to increase the number of containers Eimskip can ship from Portland. Eimskip’s US managing director Larus Isfeld expressed support for the project in a recent article in the Portland Press Herald, stating: “The more containers that come out of here, the more competitive the region will be.” If the current trend of Portland’s connection with Eimskip continues, the developments in cold storage and rail will strengthen its reputation an economic center in the northeast, with a powerful connection to Northern Europe.

A New Connection to the Arctic

The connection with Eimskip has also boosted Portland’s bond to the Arctic region. In a recent Portland Press Herald article, Dana Eidsness, director of the Maine North Atlantic Development Office, claimed Eimskip’s investment in Portland has lead to Maine joining Alaska “at the forefront of U.S. engagement in the Arctic”. This is borne out by Portland being selected as the site of the 2016 Global Arctic Conference. As the first U.S. state other than Alaska to host this conference, Maine has an opportunity to forge strong bonds with other nations involved in the Arctic like Russia and Norway, as well as get first priority on new Asian trade routes formed by a changing Arctic Ocean. 


If you are interested in Portland harbor and it’s rich maritime heritage, be sure to visit Tall Ships Portland 2015, a multi-day event from July 18-20th featuring magnificent tall ships in Portland Harbor as well as maritime education, delicious local cuisine, and more. Tickets on sale now!