Port already seeing benefits from the expanded Panama Canal
Governor Larry Hogan announced February 14 that 2016 was another record year for the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore’s public marine terminals, setting records with key targeted commodities. For the first time in its history, the Port surpassed 10 million total tons of general cargo handled at its public terminals and saw a record number of containers. General cargo includes automobiles, containers, roll on/roll off (farm and construction equipment), forest products (rolled paper and wood pulp) and breakbulk cargo. The Port was recently named as the most efficient port in the U.S. for the third consecutive time.
“Maryland’s strategic investments in the Port of Baltimore have enabled the Port to directly benefit from the expanded Panama Canal by serving the new mega-ships,” Governor Larry Hogan said. “With the arrival of these larger ships bringing more cargo, the Port of Baltimore is truly open for business. As one of Maryland’s leading economic engines, the Port continues to set new records and generate good-paying, family-supporting jobs for tens of thousands of Marylanders.”
The Port began handling larger ships that could transit through the Panama Canal last year after the canal completed a major widening and expansion. As part of the success of 2016, the Port had a particularly productive month of December for containers with the new mega ships. Containers were up 23 percent in December 2016 compared to December 2015. Baltimore is one of only four U.S. East Coast ports with the necessary infrastructure to accommodate ships of this size.
International cargo records or significant accomplishments of key targeted commodities established at the Port of Baltimore in 2016:
- General Cargo:
- Record: 1 million tons (first time surpassing 10 million)
- Up 5 percent from 2015.
- Record: 538,567 containers
- Up 3 percent from 2015’s record of 523,848.
- Forest Products:
- 519,744 tons of rolled paper
- Up 30 percent from 2015
The Port of Baltimore had very significant achievements in 2016 including:
- Welcoming its first big container ship through the new Panama Canal.
- Signing its top forest-product customer, Finland-based UPM, to a 10-year contract extension
- Extending the contracts with both of its cruise lines, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International.
- Receiving a nearly $1 million federal grant to continue reducing air pollutants by upgrading diesel equipment at the Port.
In addition in December 2016, the Port of Baltimore was named the most efficient port in the U.S. for the third consecutive time by an independent analysis conducted by the Journal of Commerce. The Port averaged 71 container moves per hour per berth, a rate faster than any other major American port.
Business at the Port of Baltimore generates about 13,650 direct jobs, while more than 127,000 jobs in Maryland are linked to port activities. The Port is responsible for nearly $3 billion in individual wages and salary and more than $310 million in state and local tax revenues.
In December 2016, the Hogan administration applied for a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) FASTLANE grant to double-stack Baltimore’s Howard Street Tunnel. Reconstructing the 121-year-old tunnel will accommodate double-stacked container trains and break a bottleneck that impacts the entire East Coast. This project will be key to meeting the Port of Baltimore’s rapidly growing container business with mega-ships from the expanded Panama Canal. Maryland’s application is currently under review by USDOT.
Source: Maryland Port Administration