Business, Freight News, Sea

Port of Baltimore Resiliency, Leadership Highlighted

[ December 10, 2020   //   ]

Maryland’s top transportation officials discussed the latest news and future plans for the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport at its annual World Trade Center Institute’s State of the Ports event. Held virtually Wednesday evening in consideration of COVID-19 precautions, the event included presentations by Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Secretary Greg Slater, MDOT Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) Executive Director William P. Doyle and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport CEO Ricky Smith. The panel was moderated by Ports America Chesapeake Vice President Bayard Hogans:

“It was a pleasure joining this esteemed panel and participating in this wonderful event,” said Executive Director Doyle. “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought incredible challenges to the maritime shipping industry, but the Port of Baltimore has been meeting those challenges head-on. Key cargos are rebounding and even seeing year-over-year improvements from pre-COVID months. We are also moving forward on projects that will significantly increase business and grow jobs at the Port.”

During the State of the Ports event, participants viewed a video showcasing future expansion plans for the Port of Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal. Plans include a second 50-foot deep container berth, more gantry cranes, and more truck gates:

In his remarks, Executive Director Doyle discussed the Port’s most recent cargo numbers, which show significant increases in October from COVID-19 lows earlier this year. Compared to those lows in May and June, cars/light trucks were up 165% in October, general cargo was up 35%, and containers were up 28%. The Port also just saw its first year-over-year gains for containers (10.5%) and general cargo (5.6%) since the pandemic began.

The Port of Baltimore’s strong container rebounds have been helped by the rise of e-commerce. There are several large distribution and fulfillment centers located near the Port of Baltimore including at Tradepoint Atlantic.

“The State of the Ports is always terrific event, and this year it really highlighted the Port of Baltimore’s resiliency during the pandemic and its critical role in keeping the region’s supply chain open and active,” said Secretary Slater. “There’s no doubt our infrastructure, our workforce and the partnerships we have with Ports America Chesapeake and other industry leaders will lead Maryland’s economic recovery.”

MDOT MPA forged a public-private partnership (P3) with Ports America Chesapeake in 2009, leading to the development of infrastructure that allows the Port to greet and service some of the largest container vessels in the world. As that partnership continues, construction of a second, 50-foot deep berth at the Seagirt Marine Terminal is moving forward. The additional berth will allow the Port to handle two supersized ships simultaneously. Four new additional Neo-Panamax cranes are scheduled to arrive in April 2021 and be operational by summer.

The growing container business also accentuates the need for the Howard Street Tunnel expansion project in Baltimore, which will accommodate double-stacked rail cars to move cargo from the Port. That project is benefitting from public-private investment between the federal government, the state of Maryland, CSX and others