Reporting Alex DeMetrick
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Vice presidential visit. Joe Biden comes to the Port of Baltimore with a $10 million check.
Alex DeMetrick reports it’s just the latest investment in a port positioning itself for the future.
The dockside applause may not have been heard by longshoremen unloading one of the largest container ships ever to call at the Port of Baltimore.
“And all indications are they’re going to get larger,” said Jim White, the port’s executive director.
Millions have already been spent on cranes massive enough to serve the mega-ships coming with the expansion of the Panama Canal.
Biden announced the federal government will now spend another $10 million on a port that is already ahead of most others when it comes to handling super-sized vessels.
“The Port of Baltimore is going to continue to send ships out over the horizon, but it’s not just Baltimore. The rest of the country has got to catch up with you. The rest of the East Coast has got to catch up with you because the opportunities are immense,” said Vice President Joe Biden.
Much of the money will be spent underwater, widening and straightening the shipping channel into the port.
“This will allow us several decades out to compete worldwide to getting these bigger ships in Maryland,” White said.
“That’s jobs. That’s a stronger middle class,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.
“It’s doing good. It’s really picking up, real big time,” said longshoreman Phillip Brown.
“And that’s a good thing for me and my family and all the workers. My dad works here, my grandfather worked here and my brother also works here,” said longshoreman Andrea Wisniewski.
And not just here. The work supports truckers to truck stops. There’s an estimated 50,000 jobs spinning off of what gets handled at the port.
Besides the $10 million in federal money, Maryland is also spending an additional $19 million to improve port infrastructure.