Maryland: Baltimore Leading Response to Supply Chain Crisis

ANNAPOLIS, MD (STL.NewsGovernor Larry Hogan will welcome President Biden to the Port of Baltimore, which—through substantial state investment and a unique public-private partnership (P3) with Ports America Chesapeake—has become the largest e-commerce port and one of the busiest ports in the United States.

The Port of Baltimore is leading the response to the current supply chain crisis.

The Port recently welcomed two new container services totaling 21 new ships on weekly schedules due to congestion at other ports.
The Port’s high number of local distribution, fulfillment, and sorting centers—totaling millions of square feet of space—combined with its outstanding truck and rail networks, and its highly skilled longshore workforce are all contributing factors.
In addition to regularly scheduled ship calls, the Port has served 24 “ad hoc” ships—vessels diverted to Baltimore that were not on a regularly scheduled service call.  Since mid-July 2020, those ad hoc ships have brought more than 38,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit containers to Baltimore.
The Port of Baltimore’s cargo volumes are strong and continuing to increase.

Business at the Port of Baltimore’s state-owned, public marine terminals was strong in the latest figures:

  • Cars: Cars and light trucks were up 13% through the first nine months of 2021 compared to Jan. through Sept. 2020. The Port handles more cars/light trucks and Roll-on Roll-off (farm and construction equipment) than any other U.S. port.
  • Roll-on/Roll-off Farm and Construction Machinery: Roll/on Roll/off was up 30% through the first nine months of 2021 compared to Jan. through Sept. 2020.
  • General cargo: General cargo was up 9% compared to Jan. through Sept. 2020.
  • Paper: Paper was up 73% through the first nine months of 2021 compared to Jan. through Sept. 2020.  This market is being driven in large part by the e-commerce boom and demand for packaging materials.
    As a result of state leadership and investment, the transformative Howard Street Tunnel Project is moving forward.

In January 2020, Governor Hogan announced that the state was moving forward on the Howard Street Tunnel Project, one of the biggest economic development job-creating projects in state history.  With $202.5 million in investment, the state is the primary funding source for the project.
Years in the making, this project will reconstruct the CSX-owned, 126-year-old Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore to allow for double-stacked intermodal container trains to and from the Port of Baltimore.  Fixing this bottleneck will finally open the entire East Coast to double stack rail.
The Howard Street Tunnel project will generate 6,550 construction jobs while an additional 7,300 jobs would be created because of the increased business.
Following final CSX engineering and permitting, construction on the project is expected in phases to begin later this year.
The Port of Baltimore recently added a second 50-foot berth and welcomed four supersized Neo-Panamax cranes.

Dredging operations were completed in April 2021 on a second, 50-foot-deep container berth at the Port of Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal.  The project is part of a unique public-private partnership between the Maryland Port Administration and Ports America Chesapeake.  A deeper berth will allow the Port to accommodate two ultra-large ships simultaneously.
Four supersized, Neo-Panamax cranes arrived at the Port of Baltimore in September 2021. The cranes are currently undergoing a very thorough testing program and will be operational during the first quarter of 2022.
The Port of Baltimore continues to gain new business and increase business from existing customers.

The Maryland Port Administration, Ports America Chesapeake, and Maersk secured a new Asian container service that began in September 2021 through Southeast Asia/Vietnam and China.  This Transpacific/Panama Canal service includes a string of up to 13 ships with carrying capacities of 4,500-plus Twenty-foot Equivalent (TEU) containers. Vessels in Maersk’s new TP20 Loop service originates in the Port of Vung Tao, Vietnam, head north to the ports of Ningbo-Zhoushan, China and Shanghai, China and then sail through the Panama Canal discharging goods in Norfolk and Baltimore—the only two U.S. ports in this service string.
The Maryland Port Administration and its container partner Ports America Chesapeake also secured a new Indian Subcontinent and Mediterranean container service for the Port of Baltimore with the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).  The service, called the Indus 2, includes an eight-ship string of 8,500 Twenty-foot Equivalent (TEU) container capacity vessels that travel to Baltimore and seven other ports around the world.  The first ship in this new service began loading cargo in India in August and arrived in Baltimore in September.
The Port of Baltimore welcomed its first post-COVID-19 cruise ship in September.

The Port has been working since March 2021 with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on restart protocols.
The Port has a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with both Carnival and the Port’s other cruise partner, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) to ensure compliance with CDC protocols. RCCL will sail on its first cruise from Baltimore on Dec. 23, 2021.