Baltimore Sets Port Record For Container Moves

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In August 2020, longshore workers at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal set a new record for container moves. While unloading and loading the supersize container vessel Maersk Edinburgh, crews made 5,536 container moves over three days with the final move completed at 11 p.m.

It was the largest number of moves for a single ship in the Port’s 314-year history, surging past the previous record of 5,181 moves set last year. 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 Maersk Edinburgh has a capacity of 13,092 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit containers. The supersized vessel arrived at the Port of Baltimore on August 16 and departed August 18. 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.

Massive ships such as the Maersk Edinburgh can call on the Port of Baltimore because of infrastructure that can accommodate some of the largest vessels in the world. The 50-foot berth that allows access for these ships was built as part of the public-private partnership (P3) between MDOT MPA and Ports America Chesapeake, which operates Seagirt Marine Terminal.

In addition to the deeper berth, the 50-year agreement, forged in 2009 in the wake of a national recession, generated thousands of jobs, installed four supersized container cranes at the Port and also included $100 million for Maryland roads, bridges and tunnels

The P3 agreement with Ports America Chesapeake continues to solidify the Port’s position as Maryland’s economic engine. Work is progressing on a second 50-foot berth that will allow the Port to accommodate two massive ships at the same time.

That berth, and four additional supersized cranes, are expected to be operational by summer 2021. The $116.4 million investment includes $103 million from Ports America, $7.8 million from the state and $6.6 million in federal funding.

The agreement has resulted in increased tax revenue for the state due to increased cargo operations, and has generated funds for the Transportation Trust Fund. The growing container business at the Port has also spurred the planned expansion project for the Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore.

That project will allow double-stacked rail cars to move cargo quicker and with more efficiency from the Port, and is also benefitting from a public-private investment from the state, CSX and others.

Last year the Port of Baltimore handled a record 43.6 million tons of cargo, including more than 11 million tons of general cargo at the state-owned, public marine terminals.

The Port of Baltimore ranks first among the nation’s ports for volume of autos and light trucks, roll on/roll off heavy farm and construction machinery, and imported gypsum. It ranks 11th among major U.S. ports for cargo handled and ninth nationally for total cargo value.

*2021 UPDATE*

In February 2021, The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore set another record at the Seagirt Marine Terminal, with 6,000 container moves conducted by longshore workers from the Maersk Edinburgh. The move of containers was the most ever from a single ship in the 315-year history of the Port. Maersk Edinburgh arrived at the Port on Monday, February 8, and left early Thursday, February 11. The final container move was completed at 9:40 p.m. Wednesday, February 10.

source: Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration

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