Governor Larry Hogan announced that the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) will receive $6.6 million in U.S. Department of Transportation grant funding to contribute to a project that will deepen a second container berth to 50 feet at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal. The state of Maryland will contribute $7.8 million and Ports America Chesapeake, which operates the Seagirt Marine Terminal for the MDOT MPA, will add $18.4 million for a total project cost of $32.7 million.
The federal funding is from a program called Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD). Construction is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2019 and should take approximately one year to complete.
“Our administration is committed to expanding Maryland’s transportation network, and these projects will support thousands of new jobs and spur economic growth and development in every corner of our state,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “I want to thank Secretary Elaine Chao and her team at the U.S. Department of Transportation for working with us to get these critical projects moving.”
A second 50-foot deep draft container berth will allow the Port of Baltimore to handle two supersized container ships simultaneously. Under a public-private partnership agreement signed in 2010 with Ports America Chesapeake, a 50-foot deep draft berth was constructed at the Seagirt Marine Terminal.
The Port of Baltimore is one of a few U.S. East Coast ports with the necessary 50-foot deep channel to accommodate these massive container vessels. Earlier this fall, the Port of Baltimore welcomed the largest container ship to ever visit Maryland when the 11,000- TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) container ship Gunde Maersk arrived at Seagirt.
The Port of Baltimore has seen a significant growth in its container business over the last several years. Last year, a record 596,972 containers made their way across the Port’s piers. Through October 2018, containers are five percent ahead of last year’s record pace.
So far in 2018, the Port’s state-owned marine terminals have established records for:
• Best Fiscal Year (July 2017-June 2018) for general cargo tons: 10,976,270 tons
• Best quarter for general cargo tons: 2,797,656 tons (second quarter)
• Best 1st six months for general cargo tons: 5,562,954 tons
• Most TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) containers in one month: 90,152 in May.
Among the nation’s ports, the Port of Baltimore ranks first for autos and light trucks, roll on/roll off heavy farm and construction machinery, and imported sugar. The Port ranks second in exported coal. Overall, the Port ranks ninth among all ports for the total dollar value of cargo and 12th in foreign cargo tonnage. Business at the Port of Baltimore generates about 13,650 direct jobs, while about 127,600 jobs in Maryland are linked to Port activities. The Port is responsible for nearly $3 billion in personal wages and salary and $310 million in state and local tax revenues.