Freight and Business Services
The Office of Freight and Business Services (OFBS) forms policy, programs, and projects that improve Maine's freight transportation network as a cohesive system. The national and international trends towards Just-In-Time operations by manufacturers and businesses has increased demand for an efficient, free-flowing freight transportation system which provides more choices to shippers.
Maine continues to follow the Three Port Strategy that was first implemented in the late 1970s to preserve the coast of Maine's resources while at the same time encouraging needed industrial port development.
The strategy promotes cargo port development in Maine's three ports of Eastport, Searsport, and Portland. The ports have shown steady, consistent growth. In 1980, only a small amount of dry cargo was handled at the Port of Searsport and none in Eastport and Portland. Today the three ports collectively handle over 1.5 million tons of dry cargo. Additionally, Portland and Searsport also handle roughly 125 million barrels of petroleum products.
Over the years, MaineDOT has invested significantly in each of the three ports to help promote this growth. In Eastport, a $20 million facility was completed in 1998. In Searsport, a $20 million investment in a public/private partnership with Sprague Energy resulted in a new terminal being completed in 2003. And in Portland, improvements to the International Marine Terminal, such as the purchase of a new container crane and additional land, has ensured that the Port of Portland remains competitive.
History of Ports and the Maritime Industry in Maine
- Maine Maritime Academy in Castine is a college specializing in ocean and marine-oriented programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and continuing education for mariners. Each year they place better than 95 percent of their graduates in professional employment, a figure unsurpassed by any other college in New England and by few others in the entire nation.
- Founded in 1962, Maine Maritime Museum in Bath collects, preserves, and interprets materials relating to the maritime history of Maine. Maine's maritime heritage is told through gallery exhibits, a historic shipyard site, adult and children's educational programs, special events, and narrated excursions along the rivers and coast to points of historic significance and scenic beauty.
- Visit the Penobscot Maritime Museum in Searsport to discover your maritime past at Maine's oldest maritime museum.
Other Cargo Port Links
Almost 90 percent of Maine's freight tonnage is carried by commercial vehicles. The Office of Freight and Business Services (OFBS) recognizes the importance of motor carriers as the predominant mode of freight transportation in Maine. OFBS addresses its mission of promoting the safe and efficient flow of motor carrier freight transportation in both the regulatory and transportation planning activity areas.
On the regulatory side, OFBS advises and informs the Commissioner concerning commercial vehicle regulatory policies, including size and weight, safety, and taxation. OFBS provides the Department's representative on regional and national highway transport groups, and analyzes motor carrier regulatory legislation proposed by the U. S. Congress and the Maine Legislature. The office frequently serves as MaineDOT's liaison with other public sector agencies and the private sector on motor carrier issues.
OFBS's motor carrier transportation planning role includes analysis of planning data such as weigh-in-motion data to determine the impact of motor carrier transportation on Maine's highway infrastructure. The Office supervises studies that are designed to improve the flow of motor carrier freight transportation in the state and make such transportation safer.
For specific information about obtaining commercial vehicle registrations, permits, fuel decals, or other credentials, and for Maine truck size and weight limit information, please visit the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles Motor Carrier Services.
Commercial Trucking Links
Freight Rail Studies
- Maine's Integrated Freight Strategy Final Report (November 2017) (PDF)
- 2014 Maine State Rail Plan (PDF)
Maine's Truck-Weights Pilot Project
- Maine's Truck-Weights Pilot Project White Paper (PDF)
- November 2009: Maine Truck Weights Report (PDF)