Record-Breaking Performance at the Port of Baltimore
The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore’s public and private marine terminals handled 38.4 million tons of cargo in 2017, the most since 1979 and the third-highest tonnage in its history. This record comes on the heels of a record 2017 year for the Port’s state-owned public marine terminals.
The 38.4 million tons of cargo handled last year was valued at $53.9 billion. The cargo tonnage fell just behind the record of 40.9 million tons in 1974 and 38.5 million tons in 1979.
Last year, the Port’s public marine terminals, managed by the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration, had a record year by handling 10.7 million tons of general cargo. It was the second consecutive year for more than 10 million tons of general cargo from the public terminals. General cargo includes autos and light trucks, containers, roll on-roll off (farm, mining and construction equipment), forest products (rolled paper and wood pulp) and breakbulk cargo. Included in the general cargo number was a record 596,972 containers, an 11 percent jump from the previous record set in 2016.
The Port’s combined public and private auto terminals also had a record year in 2017 by handling 807,194 cars and light trucks. It was the first time surpassing the 800,000 car/light truck mark and the seventh consecutive year that Maryland had handled more cars and light trucks than any other U.S. port.
Among the nation’s ports, the Port of Baltimore ranks first for autos and light trucks, first for roll on/roll off heavy farm and construction machinery, first for imported sugar and 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.
In January, the port welcomed six new Rubber-Tired Gantry (RTG) yard cranes purchased by Ports America Chesapeake which operates the Port’s Seagirt container terminal for the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration. The six new cranes will add to the 16 already in service. Since 2016, when the Port of Baltimore welcomed its first big container ship to travel through the newly widened Panama Canal, the Port has seen double-digit container growth.
Last year the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration announced the purchase of 70 acres of land adjacent to the Seagirt container terminal to handle its additional container business as well as other cargo-handling opportunities. It was the first purchase of land in that capacity in 30 years.