Category Archives: Uncategorized

Exports boost lobster: Demand from Asia boosting sales at York shellfish dealer

Seafood was Maine’s leading export in 2014, with its total value of $456.67 million topping the No. 2 export commodity of paper and pulp products by almost $100 million. And the biggest driver of seafood’s rise to the top of the state’s export commodity chart, says Jeffrey Bennett of the Maine International Trade Center, is that tasty two-clawed crustacean harvested by hundreds of independent fishermen in the Gulf of Maine, the Maine lobster.

Lobster accounts for almost $366 million of those exports and its overall total export value increased by a whopping 45.4% between 2013 and 2014 among the 25 countries buying Maine lobsters, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau’s foreign trade division.

“That’s pretty significant for the industry,” says Bennett, MITC’s senior trade specialist who was part of a Maine delegation touting the state’s iconic lobster and other seafood products at the world’s largest seafood show in Brussels in late April. “We’ve seen huge growth in Asia.”

Read the full article on Mainebiz

LePage to lead trade mission to China, Japan

Gov. Paul LePage will lead a delegation of Maine companies and educational institutions on a trade mission in October to China and Japan, which were the state’s second- and fourth-highest export destinations last year.

Janine Bisaillon-Cary, president of the Maine International Trade Center, said in a written statement that the mission hopes to build on a combined $300 million export market in those countries and also attract investment into Maine.

Read the full article on BDN Maine

Ready Seafood named Maine’s ‘Exporter of the Year’

Maine International Trade Center named Portland-based lobster dealer and processor Ready Seafood the state’s Exporter of the Year in its 2015 International Trade and Investment Awards, announced Wednesday.

The trade center lauded Ready Seafood in a news release for becoming one of Maine’s leading seafood exporters with more than 50 employees, shipping “millions of pounds of live lobsters to nearly every corner of the world.” The company also has established two spinoff businesses selling direct-to-consumer and frozen lobster products, it said.

Read the full article in Portland Press Herald


Looking for edge, Maine plunges into Arctic policy

Sen. King, Gov. LePage and businesses work to set the stage for more trade as warming northern waters allow expanded shipping and potential for the state to be a U.S. gateway.

Maine is positioning itself as a player in Arctic politics, which could increase opportunities for Maine’s climate researchers and for businesses in the advanced materials, construction, marine transportation, renewable power and logistics sectors.

Maine’s interest in the Arctic may seem puzzling, considering its location some 1,500 miles south of the Arctic Circle. But the state’s geographic position at the northeast corner of the nation means ships passing through the Arctic reach Maine ports first, said Louie Porta, director of policy for The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Oceans North Canada campaign.

Read the full article in Portland Press Herald


Maine businesses see opportunity on the North Atlantic

A Maine business delegation attended the Arctic Technology Conference in Copenhagen this week, with a mission of touting the state’s capabilities to the energy industry’s leading engineering and scientific organizations that also were at the event.

In an email sent to Mainebiz from the conference, Paul Williamson, director of the Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative, a Portland-based coalition of companies within Maine’s ocean and wind energy supply chain, said he was joined at the conference by two Maine companies at an exhibition booth representing their capabilities and those of 12 additional companies interested in expanding their presence in the ocean technology and energy markets.

Read the full article in Mainebiz

Mt. Blue’s international student plan is moving forward in Farmington

Regional School Unit 9 world language teacher Lisa Dalrymple is moving the International Student Program forward a year ahead of schedule at Mt. Blue Campus.

“The whole purpose of this is to re-establish the elementary world language program and create a stronger world language program overall,” she said.

The elementary program and the district’s Chinese studies were eliminated in 2010 because of budget constraints.

Dalrymple, who teaches at Mt. Blue High School, is the coordinator of the program she introduced to the school board last year. She is working on developing partnerships, dual diplomas, marketing and promoting the program.

Dalrymple worked all last summer and received approval from the federal government for the district to accept tuition from international students. They will also pay room and board.

Read the full article in Franklin Sun Journal

Fresh lobster led Maine exports for growth in 2014

Surging lobster prices last year helped turn around two years of decline for the total value of Maine’s exports, which rose about 3.4 percent despite decreases in the value of wood product shipments abroad.

Wood products, including paper, still made up a larger share of Maine exports than all fresh and frozen seafood products, but the value of seafood exports has tripled, increasing steadily since 2009. Wood product exports have jogged up and down in recent years, dropping sharply in 2014.

Those movements drew the two major industries to the closest export value in two decades, as wood product exports fell 14 percent, to $690.8 million, while Maine’s seafood exports grew 22 percent, to $472.8 million.

“Things change according to exchange rates and according to markets, and China slowing down a bit last year really put a slowdown on both the paper and the pulp markets,” said Janine Bisaillon-Cary, president of the Maine International Trade Center.

Read the full article on BDN Maine


Maine boosts efforts to lure Chinese investors

Maine trade officials are hoping Chinese investors’ $120 million bet on tissue papermaking in Baileyville signals the start of a stream of capital from Asia’s financial giant to the state.

The Maine International Trade Center in January opened an office in Shanghai, seeing opportunity to target investors in specific areas, like food processing, aerospace and renewable energy, and earn a share of the increasingly large pie that is Chinese investment abroad.

“The upside [for Maine] is huge,” Thomas Shiekman, director of MITC’s Shanghai investment attraction effort, said during an interview in Portland. “The Chinese have a lot of money and a lot of money in foreign reserves that are getting fairly poor returns in U.S. bonds.”

Read the full article on BDN Maine

Sen. King co-founds caucus to put Maine on front line of Arctic issues

Sen. Angus King is partnering with Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska to influence U.S. policies on Arctic issues. King, an independent, and Murkowski, a Republican, on Wednesday announced the creation of an “Arctic Caucus” in the Senate. Both senators share the vision that the United States should play a leadership role in guiding international policy decisions that affect the Arctic.

The effort comes as the United States prepares to assume the chairmanship of the Arctic Council in April.

Sen. Angus King says that the strategic significance of the Arctic will only grow more important as climate changes and Arctic ice recedes. Reuters

The partnership signals that Maine for the first time is seeking to play a role in shaping U.S. policy on Arctic issues. Historically, only Alaska has shown much interest in the Arctic, but Maine is now positioning itself as a gateway to the Arctic. Two years ago, the Icelandic steamship line, Eimskip, which serves Iceland, Greenland and the Arctic regions of northern Europe, made Portland its only port of call in the United States and North American headquarters.

The state has since created the Maine North Atlantic Development Office to develop trade and investment between Maine and North Atlantic markets. The Maine National Guard has worked with Alaska to create an Arctic Interest Working Group. Last fall, the Bangor-based 101st Air Wing of the Maine Air National Guard tested advanced communications equipment while flying with the Canadian Air Force near Goose Bay, Labrador.

Also, the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute has focused much of its research work on the Arctic.

Read the full article in the Portland Press Herald


Eimskip boosts Portland-Halifax shipping calls

Eimskip, the Icelandic shipping company that moved its U.S. port of call for its vessels to Portland from Norfolk, Va., is increasing the number of calls it makes to Halifax, Nova Scotia, from 13 to 31 calls per year.

In a joint press release with the Port of Halifax, Eimskip noted the expanded service began on Feb. 19 with the addition of the vessel MV Selfoss to its “Green Line” route, which includes service by two other Eimskip vessels, MV Reykjfoss and MV Skogafoss. Originating in Reykjavik, Iceland, the vessel will travel to Argentia, Newfoundland and Labrador before stopping in Halifax as its final port before heading to Portland.

“As a result of this service enhancement, the number of Eimskip calls in Halifax will increase from 13 to 31 calls per year, giving our customers additional options for cargo destined and originating in Europe,” said Jeff Simms, managing director of Eimskip Canada Inc. “This is good news for our intra-North American customers as well and will provide one more channel for Nova Scotia exporters to move goods into the New England states, acting as a feeder service for the 14 other carriers calling Halifax.”

To support the expanded service, Eimskip is planning to open a local office in Halifax. The service also will have direct connection with European destinations — including Iceland, the United Kingdom and The Netherlands.

Read the full article in Mainebiz