Navigating the border: Maine companies honored for international reach

From the forest to the sea, winners of Maine International Trade Center’s 2023 International Trade and Investment Awards hail from a range of industries.

Four winners, announced on Thursday, are being recognized for their commitment to expanding their business overseas. In 2022, more than 2,000 Maine companies exported more than $3.4 billion in goods and services to 178 international markets, according to MITC.

“We’re very pleased to recognize this year’s award winners, who demonstrate commitments to excellence, global connections, innovation and sustainability,” said MITC President Wade Merritt. “We look forward to presenting the awards and celebrating their success with Maine’s international business community at Trade Day 2023.”

Among this year’s honorees, North American Kelp, of Waldoboro, is being recognized as Exporter of the Year. The award is presented to a manufacturer that has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to international trade through increased exports.

The company, founded in 1971 by marine engineer Robert Morse, harvests rockweed from Maine’s Midcoast and turns nutrient-rich kelp into animal feed supplements and other products for the agricultural market. Around 15% of the company’s business is international.

“We have a long and proud history harvesting Maine seaweed in a responsible and sustainable way,” said Samantha deGroff, the company’s market and project coordinator. “Our kelp products are known globally for their high quality, and demand for our products overseas has increased exponentially in recent years. We are proud to be recognized by MITC with the Exporter of the Year Award.”