More than 11 million tons of cargo passed through the state-owned public marine terminals of the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore in the past fiscal year, setting a new record as the Port expands its regional economic impact. The second quarter of 2019, from April to June, also proved to be record setting, with the Port handling 2,873,392 tons of cargo over those three months. That amount beat the previous quarterly high mark of 2,790,745 tons, set during the second quarter of 2018.
“The Port of Baltimore continues to demonstrate why it is one of Maryland’s leading economic engines,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “These records are directly attributed to the thousands of hardworking men and women who support this incredible state asset each and every day.”
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, imported sugar and imported gypsum. It ranks 11th among major U.S. ports for cargo handled and ninth nationally for total cargo value.
The 11,001,234 tons handled last fiscal year surpassed the previous mark of 10,969,308 tons set in FY2018. The latest records follow new monthly benchmarks set in March for general cargo (1,018,274 tons), the most 20-foot containers handled (95,862), and most cars and light trucks handled in a month (59,052).
The second quarter of 2019 was aided in part by the May visit of the largest ship ever to come to the Port, the Evergreen Titan, with a capacity of 14,424 Twenty-foot Equivalent (TEU) containers. The Port of Baltimore is one of the few U.S. East Coast ports with the necessary water depth and infrastructure to accommodate the world’s largest container ships. A second deep berth is being planned by Ports America Chesapeake, which operates the Port’s Seagirt Marine Terminal, and will allow the Port to handle two supersized ships simultaneously. Construction on this new 50-foot deep berth will begin later this year and is expected to be operational in 2021.
Recently, it was announced that Maryland will receive $125 million in federal grant funding toward the reconstruction of the 125-year-old Howard Street Tunnel. This project will accommodate double-stacked container trains to and from the Port of Baltimore, a capacity improvement that’s expected to grow the Port’s container business by about 100,000 containers annually. The project also will generate 6,800 tunnel construction jobs and another 7,400 jobs as a result of the Port’s increased business.
In 2018, a record 43 million tons of international cargo was handled by the combined state-owned public and privately-owned marine terminals at The Port. The value of that cargo was also a benchmark: $59.7 billion. Last year the state-owned public terminals handled a record 10.9 million tons of general cargo and more than a million TEU containers. The Port also handled a record 850,147 cars and light trucks in 2018, the most in the U.S. for the eighth consecutive year.
The Port of Baltimore generates about 15,330 direct jobs, with more than 139,180 jobs overall linked to Port activities. The average salary for people with direct jobs at the Port is 9.5 percent higher than the average annual wage in Maryland. The Port is responsible for nearly $3.3 billion in personal wages and salaries, $2.6 billion in business revenues and $395 million in state and local tax revenues.