Maine Coast Co. delivers lobsters around the world

Tom Adams explains the Maine Coast tanks and holding system in York, Maine
Photo by Deb Cram | Seacoastonline

Every day is a “crazy juggling game” for Tom Adams, owner of the wildly successful lobster wholesaler Maine Coast. His product is live and perishable. His customers are in Seoul, South Korea, Madrid, Spain, or San Francisco. He has to worry about Homeland Security regulations, endless paperwork for China exports, planes that don’t take off on time.

“There’s a lot of risk when your product is controlled by Mother Nature,” said Adams. “We have to get it where it’s going in 48 to 60 hours. Any delay means it doesn’t get there alive. My strong point, I think, is that I have the gut instinct to most of the time play the market correctly. It’s no different than oil futures or some other commodity. It’s just that I’m dealing in lobsters.”

Located in a nondescript warehouse on Hannaford Drive in York, Maine Coast Company has had the kind of meteoric success other businesses would envy. Founded by Adams in 2011 with a $1.5 million loan, sales in 2015 were $43 million – a growth rate of 20 to 30 percent a year.

The company has expanded its space to accommodate tanks that can hold 155,000 pounds of lobster. At the end of June, it will open a $500,000, 5,000-square-foot facility on the Boston Fish Pier that will hold another 25,000 pounds — all the quicker for getting those lobsters on airplanes.

This growth is to accommodate an exploding global demand for Maine’s premier crustacean. According to the U.S. Census foreign trade division, lobster is the No. 1 commodity exported from Maine, and its growth has increased substantially from $231 million in 2012 to $331 million in 2015.

Maine Coast Company is one of the reasons for this. Foreign sales make up 55 percent of all sales — with the strongest market in China…

Read the full story in the Portsmouth Herald