By Jonathan McCall

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The Port of Baltimore is seeing record numbers thanks to recent improvements to the container business that are now paying off.

The port shattered a previous nine-month record by more than 500,000 tons. Cargo is also up nearly 15 percent from this time last year, larger than competing ports along the East Coast.

“Through the first nine months of 2017 the port has handled more than 8 million tons of cargo,” said Richard Scher of the Maryland Port Administration.

The big reason behind the spike? The port’s container business, which has tripled in recent years.

“We’re seeing bigger ships coming now, bringing more cargo because we can handle those bigger ships because we have the supersized cranes and we have some infrastructure that we have that other ports don’t have,” Scher said. “It’s obviously great news for the port because business is up, but even more importantly it’s great news for port jobs.”

The port handled nearly 32 millions tons of cargo, valued at nearly $50 billion.

With more than 140,000 jobs linked directly and indirectly to the port, Scher says the port continues to be a huge economic generator for the state of Maryland.

Overall, Baltimore ranked ninth in the total value of cargo and 14th for the overall amount of cargo among U.S. ports.

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