State leading its first trade mission to Scandinavia

The opening of a direct shipping line to the North Atlantic and growing world interest in Arctic affairs have prompted state government to lead its first trade mission to Scandinavia.

The Maine International Trade Center will guide a dozen companies, research groups and educational institutions on a 10-day trip to Norway, Sweden and Finland. The participants, who leave Tuesday, bring interests ranging from the possible export of Maine-made medical devices to Norway hospitals, to the import of advanced forest-industry machinery from Finland, to development of Arctic-viable marine technology with researchers in Trondheim, Norway, said MITC’s Dana Eidsness.

Maine has increased its export of goods to Scandinavia by 50 percent over the past five years, from $18.5 million in 2010 to $27.7 million in 2015, according to federal export statistics. Eidsness attributes the growth to the 2013 arrival in Portland of the Icelandic shipping company Eimskip, which created the state’s first direct shipping line into the North Atlantic and opened up an entirely new market for even small Maine companies.