May 4, 2012

Administrator Matsuda, Congresswoman Pingree and John Henshaw, Executive Director of Maine Port Authority

Two days after news broke that a container ship company servicing Portland had ceased operation, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree showed the top maritime official in the country around the International Marine Terminal in Portland and discussed ways to attract a new company to Maine to provide the service.

“We’ve proven that there is a customer base that wants to ship container cargo in and out of Portland,” Pingree said. “And with the big improvements that have already been made at the terminal, Portland is a prime candidate for a new company to set up container service.”

Pingree met with U.S. Maritime Administrator David Matsuda as well as local and state officials this morning to discuss opportunities for new container service at the International Marine Terminal as well as the design of a new, fuel-efficient tug-barge combination.

“This new tug-barge design is the right size for container service in a place like Portland,” Pingree said. “It would cost between 1/3 and 1Ž2 what a more traditional container ship would cost and use about half the crew. It’s also a ship that could be built in local yards here in Maine. So getting that design finalized is important.”

Pingree urged Matsuda to fund the completion of a design for an articulatedtug-barge that had been started as part of a joint project between the Department of Defense and the U.S. Maritime Administration.