Back in October, I told you about how Portland is getting back into the international ferry biz. Now comes word that after about four years, Portland is getting back into the multistate tug-barge biz. We're doing our damnedest up here to be a legit maritime city.
Last week, Portland put out an RFP to McAllister Towing and Foss Maritime, the two tug companies deemed qualified from an earlier RFP, for the operation of a hybrid tug-barge service between Portland and New York.
"This is a great opportunity for the city to become a cargo hub," said Maine Port Authority Executive Director John Henshaw. "We have great passenger operations on the eastern hub and it would be a great benefit to the city to have a complementary cargo center on the western hub."
And this should happen pretty soon. The city already landed $150k for the design work of the ATB that will be built specifically for this run. The idea is that it will be a public-private partnership of some kind, with a "public entity" owning the barge, and the operator designing, building and operating the tug-barge piece.
I'm not entirely sure why that would make sense, but it would apparently lower shipping rates. I'll let someone else do the math.
The bigger point here is that Portland is investing in the maritime industry and it's growing. If you don't mind a little snow in the winter, it ain't a bad place to work. Come on up.