Led by increases in car and light truck volumes, the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore’s state-owned, public marine terminals continued to show strong recovery in March compared to figures from 2020 in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Autos, roll on/roll off farm and construction equipment, and containers each had significant gains last month compared to their COVID-19 low points.
With 58,032 units in March 2021, autos and light trucks showed a 229 percent increase compared to its low point in May 2020 during the pandemic. The auto/light truck category also posted a month-over-month increase of 102.8 percent over February 2021, and a year-over-year increase of 13.6 percent from March 2020.
In addition to the increase in cars and light trucks, the Port of Baltimore handled 97,146 tons of roll on/roll off equipment in March, an increase of 97.6 percent in that category compared to its low point in June 2020. General cargo, with 983,829 tons, was up 34.1 percent compared to its June 2020 low, while container volumes, with 49,942 boxes, was up 5.3 percent against its June 2020 low.
Categories were up compared to February 2021 as well: In addition to the 102.8 percent increase posted by autos/light trucks, roll on/roll off was up 112 percent and containers were up 3 percent. The roll on/roll off category also posted a 20.2 percent year-over-year increase compared to March 2020, while general cargo was up 3.46 percent year-over-year.
“Baltimore is coming back strong,” said Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) Executive Director William Doyle. “Consumers are buying; that’s evident from our car and container numbers. People have adjusted their purchasing habits toward e-commerce and the Port of Baltimore is an e-commerce logistics hub that can help our customers take advantage of the many local distribution, fulfillment and sorting centers. We’ve also learned to respect and deal with COVID-19 impacts to our industry. We encourage our workforce – and the public – to get vaccinated.”
The Port continues to gain new business and increase business from existing customers. It has served 19 “ad hoc” ships (vessels diverted to Baltimore that were not on a regularly scheduled service call) since mid-July 2020, totaling more than 31,000 20-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) containers.
Additionally, a new multi-year contract with the Metsa Group of Finland and Logistec Corporation is consolidating Metsa’s mid-Atlantic paper product volumes through Baltimore using carriers Spliethoff Group and Royal Wagenborg. The contract will generate hundreds of jobs.