The City Ports and Transportation Department is the port authority for the Port of Portland. The Department's guiding principles include supporting the long-term improvement of the Port of Portland's waterfront economy, maximizing public access to the port, assuring new facilities and compatible with the Port of Portland's existing architectural character, providing flexible infrastructure, minimizing port impacts on nearby neighborhoods, and providing responsible fiscal and management of the Port of Portland.
In 2008, 766 vessels called at the Port of Portland carrying a total of 14.1 million tons of cargo, including 245.5 TEUs of containerized cargo. Cargoes included minerals (5.5 million tons), grains (4.4 million tons), breakbulk cargoes (977.2 thousand tons), and automobiles (245.5 thousand tons).
The terminals in the Port of Portland include:
The Port of Portland is the heart of the city, as it has been for centuries. The Port of Portland can handle the biggest ocean-going vessels, whether they carry containers or passengers. The Port of Portland is also home to many ferries and pleasure boats. The natural deep-water harbor is ice-free and one of the best-protected on America's East Coast.
The Port of Portland's ice-free harbor can shelter deep-draft vessels in any weather conditions. Pilotage is required for foreign vessels and US vessels in foreign trade with drafts over 2.7 meters. Coastal and fishing vessels may not require pilotage services. Vessels with draft over 8.5 meters anchor in the Diamond Island Roads anchorage, and light vessels, barges, and recreational vessels normally anchor off Fish Point. Both of these anchorages are well-protected in the inner harbor. Deep-draft crude carriers with draft of 13.7 meters and above can anchor offshore about one nautical mile north of the ELN Racon buoy P.
The Maine State Pier contains an area of three hectares of pier structure and business-related lands in the Port of Portland. Pier sheds occupy 1.4 hectares, and the pier is served by 1905 meters of rail tracks.
The Port of Portland's new Ocean Gateway passenger terminal boasts 914.4 meters of deep-water berths and a 1.9 thousand square meter state-of-the-art terminal that can accommodate the largest cruise ships. The terminal services both ferry and cruise passengers. The facility is near Portland's downtown and Old Port shopping districts and its uptown historic and arts districts.
The Casco Bay Lines Ferry serves the Port of Portland with year-round ferry services for passengers, vehicles, and freight moving between Portland, and the Islands of Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Long, Chebeague, and Cliff. The Casco Bay Lines Ferry also offers cruises, private charters, and lobster bakes. The car ferry Machigonne II moves vehicles between Portland and Peak Island. Casco Bay Lines' Maquoit II moves cars and light pickups to Long Island, Chebeague Island, and Cliff Island.
The Port of Portland Fish Exchange is a fresh fish and seafood auction where Commercial Fishing Vessels and Wholesalers and Processers can meet. Every day, fresh products are displayed for buyers. The 2 thousand square meter Exchange facility is located at the Port of Portland waterfront and is equipped with ample shipping bays for loading products. Auctions are held throughout the year from Sunday until Thursday.