BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The $5 billion expansion of the Panama Canal opened this week with a big celebration.
And now, supersized cargo ships passing through the Central American waterway will be heading here, to the Port of Baltimore.
WJZ’s Pat Warren reports the Port of Baltimore is one of only three East Coast ports that can handle the new “mega ships.”
The expansion of the Panama Canal took 10 years to complete, and the new mega ships it can accommodate can carry up to 14,000 containers.
Being able to accommodate them is “a huge advantage for us,” says Richard Scher, of the Maryland Port Administration. “There are other ports on the East Coast that don’t have the infrastructure yet to be able to welcome those ships.”
Baltimore’s 50-foot channel, container berth and supersized cranes will generate more business for the port.
As it stands today, the port “is one of the leading economic generators in the state of Maryland,” Scher says.
More than 13,600 jobs at the port, and it’s linked to 130,000 statewide.
“Larger ships bringing more cargo to this port, that’s going to obviously increase, over time, the amount of jobs that the Port of Baltimore can generate,” Scher says.
And that will help secure Baltimore’s role as a staple in the global shipping industry.
The first of the supersized ships is expected in Baltimore next month.
Norfolk and Miami house the other ports that can handle the mega ships.