The rendering of a Norwegian composite bridge to be built by Harbor Technologies. The bridge is designed to represent the migration of salmon, so concrete and steel could not be used.
The Brunswick company specializes in composite construction which makes structures more durable, more weather resistant and impact resistant. Working with researchers at the University of Maine’s composite Laboratory Harbor Technologies has developed new unique designs for pylons, and bridges. photo courtesy Harbor Technologies.
Harbor Technologies, a Brunswick company, has a $500,000 contract with a Norwegian firm to supply composite panels for a bridge to be built in Mandal, Norway.
Harbor Technologies is a composite manufacturer that produces bridge beams for transportation departments, such as the Knickerbocker Bridge in Boothbay, and composite pilings for the marine industry. They have an annual revenue between $6 million and $7 million and employ 40 people.
Martin Grimnes, founder of Harbor Technologies, explained that the Norwegian bridge is designed to represent the migration of salmon, so concrete and steel could not be used. Harbor Technologies will ship the bridge components through Eimskip, the Icelandic shipping company that recently made its North American headquarters in Portland. The composite panels are each 20 feet long.
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Tags: Cutting-edge technology·Jobs·Transportation
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced that a maritime shipping company has been selected to design a new vessel that would provide cargo service between Portland and New York, with a possible stop at another port in Southern New England. The design contract, for an articulated tug-barge, was funded by a $150,000 federal grant that Pingree had pushed for.The agreement between the Maine Port Authority and McAllister Towing and Transportation, calls for the initial design work to be completed by fall.
“The design of this vessel is the key to bringing increased domestic cargo service to Maine,” said Pingree. “This type of vessel will suit the needs of shippers in Maine and New York. It could cost between 1/3 and 1/2 what a more traditional container ship would cost and use fewer crew, thus reducing capital and operational costs that could then be passed on to shippers.”
Last year Pingree hosted a tour of the International Marine Terminal in Portland for U.S. Maritime Administrator David Matsuda. She told Matsuda that a new tug-barge design was the best option for starting a service that would movecargo between the Port of New York/New Jersey and Portland and urged him toapprove federal funding for the design. It’s important to spend time on the front end to design a vessel that fits the needs of shippers.
“We always work with our shippers first,” said John Henshaw, Executive Director of the Maine Port Authority. “With port infrastructure design, equipment investment, terminal layout – and in this case vessel design – we always begin with the customer.”
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Sen. Snowe, Gov. Baldacci, and Gov. King were praised by Congresswoman Pingree for their bipartisan efforts that helped secure federal and state funding for the Downeaster. Pingree also voted for the recovery act, with Sen. Snowe and Sen. Collins, which gave funding for the Downeaster. Photo by Ramona du Houx.
A Downeaster maintenance depot in Brunswick is moving forward with a $12 million grant for the layover location. The construction project was given to Portland-based firm Consigli Construction following a meeting by the Northern Rail Authority board of directors Monday. Rail officials expect the project, which still requires an environmental assessment reviewed by the public and the Federal Railroad Administration, will begin construction later this year.
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Eimskip, and Icelandic company, operates a fleet of 16 cargo ships in the North Atlantic and will make port at the Portland International Marine Terminal every 14 days. The service will give Maine businesses direct import and export access to markets in eastern Canada and Europe. Eimskip expects to hire employees to support its Portland operations, and the new service may also create related jobs in trucking, railroads and warehousing.
The new shipping service opens up markets to Maine businesses of all kinds. Many small businesses can’t afford to fly their goods overseas and some have been shipping out of Boston.
“The real opportunity that I see here is for Maine businesses,” said John Henshaw, executive director of the Maine Port Authority. “It will make shipping cost-effective and open up entirely new markets. There’s great opportunity for our seafood processors and agriculture sectors stemming from Eimskip’s leadership in refrigerated container logistics.”
Small businesses that only want to ship a few pallets of goods with Eimskip will be able to use the container service as well as bigger orders. The availability of shipping a crate or two will be encouraging for small business trade.
While Eimskip considered other ports in New England, it ultimately decided to move its North American operations to Portland because of recent waterfront infrastructure improvements, the city’s strong seafood and natural resource markets, and Portland’s proxilmty to European ports.
“We would have never come if it wasn’t for this terminal,” said Isfeld, spokesman for Eimskip.
The announcement comes after years of work by city officials, private companies and state government. Governor John Baldacci’s Three port transportation strategy enhanced the capabilities of Maine’s three deep water ports: Portland, Eastport and Searsport. With voter approved bond issues these ports began infrastructure improvements then the Recovery Act provided $14 million in additional funds. Now companies like Eimskip can choose Maine over Boston to move goods and services.
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Reps. Mike Michaud and Reid Ribble (R-Wisconsin), members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, have re-introduced the “Safe and Efficient Transportation Act,” which would allow states to increase the weight of trucks allowed on their Interstate Systems. Trucks that utilize the higher weight limit would be required to add an additional axle in order to maintain the same stopping distance and weight distribution as trucks currently operating on interstate highways. Michaud’s bill would also make Maine’s current 20 year pilot program permanent.
“Making Maine’s pilot program permanent, and permitting changes like it in other states, would provide long-term certainty for shippers and help our struggling economy,” said Michaud, who’s fought for a permanent weight limit change for years. “It would reduce emissions and save on fuel and road maintenance costs by ensuring we get the most out of every truck mile travelled. It would also help American manufacturers compete with other countries that already permit heavier trucks on their highways. Most importantly, it would promote safety by making sure trucks aren’t forced to take secondary roads through town centers, busy intersections, and school crossings.”
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Tags: Maine's quality of life·Transportation
Portland City Hall at Christmas photo by Ramona du Houx
Last night, the Portland City Council unanimously approved a joint resolution supporting a Portland North passenger transit service linking the city with Lewiston and Auburn. The action calls for the three municipalities to study and evaluate the feasibility of developing a transit service linking the communities whether through rail or other high-quality transit service including bus service. Such a service could reduce the number of single-passenger vehicle trips and traffic congestion as well as support regional economic development opportunities. This initiative is part of a broader collaboration between the cities to assist each other in addressing commuting, employment and economic opportunity goals.
“Studying the opportunities for passenger transit service between three of Maine’s largest communities is a great first step,” stated City of Portland Mayor Michael Brennan. “A commuter service could help the city achieve its sustainability and transportation goals by reducing single-passenger trips as well as enhance the quality of life and employment opportunities for residents of the region.”
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Tags: Economy·Maine's quality of life·Transportation
Last week, City of Portland Mayor Michael Brennan, City Manager Mark Rees along with staff met with Province of Nova Scotia officials, Albert Wlazak, Director of Environmental and Social Affairs and Paul Gillis, Executive Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to discuss the efforts underway to re-establish ferry service between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and Portland, Maine. After the meeting, the Nova Scotia officials toured two city port facilities, the Ocean Gateway International Marine Terminal and the International Marine Terminal, both capable of supporting a ferry and freight service between the two communities.
“Restoring the ferry service between our two ports has been a priority for both communities and I am very encouraged by the steps my counterparts in Nova Scotia have taken to attract a stable ferry service that could serve our two countries for many years to come,” stated Mayor Brennan. “Portland and Yarmouth have enjoyed a close relationship for generations and we have both benefitted from the economic and tourism opportunities associated with the ferry service. I along with city and state officials will continue to support this initiative and will work closely with the governments of Yarmouth and Nova Scotia to see this service restored.”
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Portland City Hall, Maine photo by Ramona du Houx
Portland City Council unanimously adopted a ‘Complete Streets’ transportation policy for the city. The policy calls for the construction, maintenance and operation of roads that fit the particular land use and transportation context as well as give full consideration to and balance the needs of all users of the street including motorists, pedestrians, transit riders, bicyclists, commercial vehicles and emergency responders.
“The roadway system is every community’s common link; it is the public space that connects nearly every person in a community and provides them with a means of transportation and recreation,” stated City of Portland Mayor Michael Brennan.
Last Monday’s action completes a year-long effort to develop a complete streets policy that fits the community. Support for this initiative was provided by the Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant awarded to the Healthy Portland program to prevent obesity and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Sustainable Communities Building Blocks program.
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The Sierra Club places Maine’s East-west highway among the 50 worst transportation projects in the country. They have reviewed many similar projects, which is in part what they base their analysis upon.
The privately run, four-lane toll highway cutting through the Maine woods would have negative impacts on air and water quality and critical wildlife habitat according to the Sierra Club report. It suggested the use of a freight rail line parallel to the proposed route for passengers and fright. Railroads are more environmental friendly and save on carbon polution from car emissions. The Sierra Club advised that public investments should be focused on passenger and commuter rail. The idea is not new.
The Baldacci administration put into action a three-port strategy which enhanced Maine’s three ports so more cargo could be shipped to Maine and then be transported by freight across the country. The three-port strategy used Eastport, Searsport and Portland as the deep shipping ports that would be the starting or ending point for freight to go across country.
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The Maine Port Authority has been awarded a $150,000 federal grant to pay for design work for a new type of container vessel that could bring domestic coastwise cargo service to the International Marine Terminal (IMT) in Portland.
“The key to bringing a New York service to Portland is a new tug-barge design that will suit the needs of Maine shippers,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. “It would cost between 1/3 and 1/2 what a more traditional container ship wouldcost and use fewer crew, thus reducing capital and operational costs that could then be passed on to shippers.”
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