BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s port is a hot spot for passengers on the East Coast and now there’s talk of a second terminal.
But as Gigi Barnett explains, the state’s feeble budget may be a roadblock.
Baltimore’s cruise industry is booming. The reason: location, location, location.
“Three or four years ago, we weren’t even on the radar screens of the cruise lines,” said Port of Baltimore Executive Director Jim White.
Now it’s a different picture. Baltimore’s port is in the nation’s top 10 for cruises. From 2008 to now, the number of passengers have quintupled. And now the Maryland Port Administration wants another cruise terminal near North Locust Point.
“We had a great year last year—did 92 cruises. This year, we have 112 booked. Baltimore has really become a cruise destination,” White said.
But the question now is how to pay for it. With an ailing state budget, Maryland has few dollars for all of the roads, signs and extras that come with another terminal.
But the port has several plans.
“There’s options for us. We just did a very successful, private, public partnership for our container terminal for 50 years that may be an option for us to jumpstart the second cruise terminal,” White said.
The Port Authority says another option is to ask a cruise line to build a second terminal since they’ve had so much success. Meanwhile, it could take between nine months to a year to find money for an additional terminal.
The port says the cruise industry brings about $92 million to Charm City and hires more than 500 workers every year.