BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thinking big to stay in the game. That’s what Baltimore’s port is celebrating.
Alex DeMetrick reports–shipping is undergoing a major sea change, and the port is ready.
It was a serenade to steel at the Port of Baltimore.
At 40 stories high, new cranes and a 50 foot deep berth were formally dedicated.
“These giant cranes cranes are the physical representation of the future of the Port of Baltimore,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Built and shipped from China last summer, that future had to squeeze under the Bay Bridge.
They went into operation this past winter, unloading ships that will soon be dwarfed by super-sized firefighters carrying thousands of cargo containers once the 2015 expansion of the Panama Canal is finished.
It will take these immense cranes to do it, even though Baltimore is out of the way.
“For them, time is money, so it’s eight hours in, eight hours back out. So when they get here we have a higher demand on us to turn the ships quicker than those ports that are sitting on ocean water,” said Jim White, Director, Md. Port Administration.
That means going from handling 37 containers an hour. It also means:
“[More than] five thousand jobs is what this investment is going to create,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.
“Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, everything should pick up. I hope it picks up, anyway,” said Tim Heckman, Longshoreman.
All this comes down to competition.
“It’s fiercely competitive on the U.S. East Coast. There’s a port just about every hundred miles,” White said.
But only Baltimore and Norfolk are ready now to handle the future.
Getting ready for the super ships took a public-private partnership and investment of over $100 million.