I greatly enjoyed reading David Platt’s latest column in the September issue of the Working Waterfront (“Duluth: a location creates a waterfront,”). The story about the Port of Duluth evoked in me a sense of admiration and respect for the many industrious individuals whose labor and vision made that port successful, even in a seemingly unlikely location.

Too often in our formerly great maritime state, the term “working waterfront” is synonymous with fishing in general, and lobstering in particular. It is sad to me, as a professional mariner who makes a living from Maine’s historic ties to international maritime commerce, that this state seems to have turned its back on the “other” working waterfront, the “industrial” working waterfront. Continued opposition to a container port on a portion of Sears Island, or to an LNG facility being located anywhere within state waters, are two continuing examples of this mentality.

For years I was a proponent of Maine’s “Three-Port” strategy. This state has about 3,500 miles of coastline, and I have read that less than 2 percent of that total is dedicated to “working waterfronts”. Of that 2 percent, I think it would be a fair bet to say that less than half of it would qualify as “industrial” waterfront. I now feel that the Three-Port strategy was too narrowly focused; a state as blessed as ours is with deep-water, available land, and road-and-rail connections should have far more commercial maritime activity, along with the economic benefits that such industry brings.

Industrial working waterfronts are not “quaint”. But to those of us who know their value to the state and appreciate having the opportunity to make our living from them, they are indeed a thing to be admired. Thanks for the insight presented in your story.