BALTIMORE (WJZ)– For the first time in 30 years, the Maryland Port Administration has made a major move to help continue the business boom at the Port of Baltimore.

Officials announced Tuesday the completed purchase of 70 acres of land needed to accommodate some serious cargo at the port.

There’s no doubt that over the last several decades the Port of Baltimore has become a competitive force to be reckoned with.

One of Maryland’s leading economic engines continues to show no signs of slowing down.

The Port of Baltimore is already ranked as the top port in the country for handling a number of goods and for three consecutive years, it’s been listed as the most productive port in the U.S.

Since last year, supersized container ships have been making their way to the port following the recently widened Panama Canal, setting the stage for a record year in 2016 for handling of containers.

In order to accommodate the increase in cargo, the State has recently purchased 70 acres of land near the Seagirt Marine Terminal in Southeast Baltimore to handle the growing volume of business.

“Ships are getting nothing but bigger now-a-days and if you don’t have the right infrastructure as a port to welcome those ships it’s going to be tough for that port to compete,” says Richard Scher of the Maryland Port Administration.

Currently, the Port of Baltimore is only of one of four east coast ports able to handle large ships, thanks to equipment like Neo Panamax cranes, the largest in the world.

The Port of Baltimore already generates nearly 14,000 direct jobs. Economic experts believe this additional investment will add about 1,700 more.

“The multiplier effect on these jobs — enormous, it also serves an opportunity to further diversify our economy away from federal government spending and to focus more on industrial pursuits,” says economist Anirban Basu of Sage Policy Group Inc.

Experts say right now the port is being set up to grow faster than it ever has before.

“It’s is a game changer,” Scher says.

Economic experts say it might take six to eight years before the start of the real large economic impacts the expansion will have.

Altogether between private and public marine terminals the Port of Baltimore saw roughly 32 million tons of international cargo cross its docks.

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