Business, Freight News, Sea

Port of Baltimore sets record for container moves

[ February 18, 2021   //   ]

The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore has set another record at the Seagirt Marine Terminal this week, with 6,000 container moves conducted by longshore workers from the Maersk Edinburgh – the most ever from a single ship in the 315-year history of the Port. Maersk Edinburgh arrived at the Port on February 8 and left early February 11. The final container move was completed that Wednesday at 9:40 p.m.
Container moves are the number of times an imported container is unloaded from a ship, as well as when an export or empty container is loaded onto a ship. The new record surpasses a previous high mark of 5,536 moves, also from the Maersk Edinburgh and achieved in August 2020.
The new record is part of a notable rebound in container volumes at the Port from low points as the COVID-19 emergency affected economic markets worldwide. In the most recent reporting period in December, containers at the Port of Baltimore were up 12% compared to low points during the early stages of the pandemic last spring, and up 6% year-over-year compared to December 2019, the third consecutive month for year-over-year gains.
“E-commerce continues to be a driving factor in our recovery,” said William P. Doyle, executive director of the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA). “The Port of Baltimore is surrounded by many of the region’s distribution, fulfillment and sorting centers. With consumers making more online purchases during the pandemic, that’s resulting in strong container gains for us.”
The recent container volume increases include 13 “ad hoc” ship calls since mid-July totaling nearly 18,000 TEU containers. Ad hoc ships are vessels that were diverted to Baltimore that were not on a regularly scheduled service.
The Maersk Edinburgh has a capacity of 13,092 TEU. Maersk Line is a member of the 2M shipping alliance with Mediterranean Shipping Co., which also includes a strategic cooperation slot sharing arrangement with another global shipping line, ZIM Line.
Ships such as the Maersk Edinburgh can call on the Port of Baltimore because of infrastructure that accommodates some of the largest vessels in the world. As part of the Port’s public-private partnership (P3) with Ports America Chesapeake, construction for 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. As part of that project, four additional Neo-Panamax cranes are scheduled to arrive in July and will be operational later this year.
The Port’s 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 to and from the Port. That project is benefiting from public-private investment between the federal government, Maryland, CSX and others.