© 2021 Maine Public
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Business and Economy

Company Drops Plans To Build High-Tech Refrigerated Warehouse In Portland

Canal 5 Studio of Portland
Americold's proposed cold-storage warehouse on the Portland waterfront.

Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) officials say plans to construct a cold storage facility on the Portland waterfront will continue as most-recent plans crumble.

Americold has dropped plans to build the facility next to the International Marine Terminal in Portland. 

But Deputy DOT Commissioner Jonathan Nass says economic studies of the port show the project is needed and viable, and he says the department is looking at other options.

"The Maine brand sells very well elsewhere and we just know there's a demand there for this type of warehousing," Nass says. "And we believe it will support Maine's economy."

Americold's proposed building generated opposition from nearby residents, but it eventually won a needed zone change. Americold said in a statement that numerous factors indicated the plan didn't fit with the company's business model.

Such a facility is considered key to expanding trade in seafood and other Maine food products via the Eimskip container ship service.

Maine Department of Transportation purchased the property and conducted environmental remediation before building much of the infrastructure needed for the port location. The state has already invested significantly in the port.  

Nass said the final structure was just one more piece of infrastructure that Americold agreed to build and operate.

“We’re completely committed to constructing cold storage on the waterfront,” said Nass. “We believe that the market is there. We believe that its critical to Maine’s food and beverage economy and we’re going to push forward with this project.”

Nass says Maine's DOT could consider a similar deal with another company, or partner with other entities and be more involved in the construction process.