The Maryland Port Administration (MPA) and Ceres Terminals Incorporated welcomed a new roll on/roll off (Ro/Ro) export service today by European Red Sea African Lines (ERSAL) to the Port of Baltimore’s North Locust Point Terminal. Ceres Marine Terminals is the stevedore and terminal operator. The ERSAL/Ceres service will focus on transporting cars, trucks and construction equipment destined for West Africa and Europe.

“As the number one port for roll on/roll off cargo, we are pleased to welcome this new service to the Port of Baltimore,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari. “There is great demand in many African and European countries for these types of cargos. With Baltimore’s experience in handling Ro/Ro, and our quality labor force, we fully expect this new service to produce a successful partnership that will continue to grow in the days ahead.”

Ceres recently signed a three-year lease with the MPA for 9.5 acres of land at the North Locust Point Marine Terminal. An agreement was signed between Ceres and ERSAL to handle the shipping line’s new business in Baltimore. The total amount of cargo is expected to be approximately 20,000 Ro/Ro units annually. This equates to three to four vessel calls per month at North Locust Point.

“Ceres has maintained a solid presence in the Port of Baltimore for over 30 years. We are pleased to expand our world-class stevedoring and terminal operations to the North Locust Point facility and are especially happy to see that this new business will contribute to additional man-hours and new jobs for the waterfront community. North Locust Point is Ceres’ new common use terminal for handling Ro/Ro cargo. We hope to utilize our expertise and state-of-the art technology to service ERSAL’s requirements smoothly as well as bring in new Ro/Ro business to the terminal,” commented Doug Wolfe, Port Manager, Ceres Marine Terminals, Inc.

ERSAL ships to Russia via Finland, West Africa and the Middle East. Its new export service will begin with two separate vessels, the Trigger and the Grand Baltimore. The Trigger’s US to West Africa service calls Boston; Wilmington, Delaware; Baltimore; Jacksonville, Florida; Cotonou and Lome, Africa. The Grand Baltimore’s US to Europe service calls Davisville, Rhode Island; Baltimore; Kotka and Hamina, Finland; and Russia.

Ceres also handles Ro/Ro cargo and automobiles at the Port of Baltimore’s Dundalk Marine Terminal and the Atlantic and Chesapeake terminals. Ceres also handles cruise business at the Port of Baltimore’s South Locust Point Terminal.

The Port of Baltimore employs about 16,500 workers. Out of 361 US ports, Baltimore is ranked number one for handling imported forest products, roll on/roll off cargo, trucks, exported autos, and imported gypsum, sugar and iron ore. The Port of Baltimore is ranked 13th nationally for total foreign cargo tonnage and 12th for total dollar value of cargo. In 2006, the Port was responsible for $3.6 billion in personal wage and salary income. Activities at the Port of Baltimore generated $388 million in state and local taxes.

As a result of its outstanding work to increase US exports, the Maryland Port Administration (MPA) which oversees the public terminals at the Port of Baltimore, was honored in 2007 with the Presidential “E” award. The award was created in 1961 to recognize persons, firms, or organizations that contribute significantly to increase US exports. The MPA was awarded this special distinction for its increased export business over the last several years. The MPA, which also won the “E” award in 1964, is only the 23rd port organization out of 361 total ports in the US to win the highly acclaimed recognition. It is only the fourth port to win the award twice.