This afternoon a crowd of local dignitaries from the Portland area gathered on the new megaberth to celebrate its official opening. A ribbon cutting ceremony was followed by a celebration aboard the “Celebrity Summit” – the ship arrived in Portland this morning and is berthed at Ocean Gateway Pier 11.
In his introductory remarks, Mayor Nick Mavadones said that the construction of this deep-water pier completes the “vision the city set forth a dozen years ago to reimagine the eastern waterfront and create an area that meets the needs of residents, businesses and maritime industries. Bath Iron Works decided to leave this strip of water in 1998 and as a result the city found itself at a crossroads – we could leave this area underutilized or we could embrace the opportunity presented to us and take the waterfront in a new direction.” The City decided to create a passenger port for the new century.
Governor Paul LePage expressed his pleasure at the new megaberth saying that tourism is so important to this city and to the state. He said this is a state with an “aging population” and put in a plug for a legislative proposal for next year to eliminate taxes on retirement funds. LePage urged everyone to visit the Old Port and “spend a lot of money.”
Jack Parker, CEO of Reed & Reed who built the megaberth as well as the Oceangate Terminal said he remembers well how cold it was out there last January when his employees were building the megaberth. “This deep water berth connects us to the cruise world,” he said. He offered his heartfelt thanks to the city staff for working with them.