BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Good news coming out of the Port of Baltimore: It broke records in a number of categories last year.
That starts with some new cranes. Only four ports on the East Coast have them. They allow the world’s largest ships to visit. Which led to a record number of containers coming through in 2016.
“We attribute that to being able to now welcome the big ships which started coming here last year and handle more cargo,” says Richard Scher, of the Port of Baltimore.
The state is quick to credit those who helped make it happen.
The port is responsible for 13,000 direct jobs. About 8,000 of those employees live in the city.
“You know Baltimore City residents are a huge part of working at the port and our success,” Scher says. “It’s clearly the men and women who work at the port every day, we have some of the best long shore workers in the U.S.”
The port also isn’t reliant on any one type of cargo.
For instance, competing ports may only have a robust container business. Not so in Baltimore.
“We handle more cars than any other port in the U.S., we handle more roll on roll off, which is basically your farm machinery,” according to Scher.
The port is hoping the news brings even more business in 2017.
“Last year, the port was named the most efficient port in the U.S. out of all major U.S. ports, we basically handled containers on a faster rate than any other port in the U.S.,” Scher says.
The shippers like that because it means their stuff isn’t stuck in transit.
State officials say growth at the port will continue if the federal government helps to pay for an expansion of the century-old Howard Street Tunnel.
If it’s enlarged to accommodate more than the single container that now fits through, railroads will be able to stack two containers on each rail car.