Mediterranean Shipping Company gives Baltimore a second direct link to Asian market

The Maryland Port Administration (MPA) announced today that the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) will begin a new direct, weekly container service next month between the Port of Baltimore and the Far East. Starting on or about July 13, the new Golden Gate Service will bring an additional nine MSC vessels to Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal, each with a capacity to support 5,400 TEU containers. The first vessel scheduled as part of this new service will be the MSC Emma.

‘We welcome this additional Far East service by MSC,’ said Governor Martin O’Malley. ‘Over the last decade, the Asian economies have grown tremendously. These dynamic markets will help support the growth of business here at the Port of Baltimore, leading to more work and a more stable labor environment for the more than 16,500 men and women who depend on the port to support their families.’

The Golden Gate Service will offer the following vessel rotation: New York-Baltimore-Savannah-Freeport-Port Everglades-Panama Transit-Balboa-Manzanillo-Shanghai-Ningbo-Hong Kong-Yantian-Singapore-Suez Transit-New York. The new business will provide an additional 52 MSC ships a year, increasing the total number of MSC ships that visit Baltimore annually to approximately 300.

In April, the MPA and MSC announced a new six-year contract extension that will bring a minimum of 100,000 MSC containers to the Port through 2014. That extension maintains about 630 direct jobs and retains about $25 million in direct wages and salaries and $14 million in total state and local taxes.

‘Following our six-year extension with the MPA, MSC is pleased to announce this new service to the Port of Baltimore which will offer customers faster service to the Far East,’ said Captain E. Lorenzo DiCasagrande, vice president of MSC USA Baltimore. ‘The relationship between the MPA and MSC has been continuously strengthened year after year due to the Port of Baltimore’s efficient terminal operations, large consumer market, and effective distribution network.’

MSC began a weekly service to Baltimore in 1988. In 1988, about 4,500 containers were brought to the Port of Baltimore on MSC vessels. By 2008, that number increased 30 fold to more than 136,000 containers. MSC’is the Port of Baltimore’s top container customer and was also the first container shipping company to work out of the Seagirt Marine Terminal after it opened in 1990. Evergreen Marine Corporation provides the Port’s only other direct link to Asia.

Activity at the Port of Baltimore generates about 16,500 direct jobs. Out of about 360 US ports, Baltimore is ranked number one for handling Ro/Ro cargo; trucks; imported forest products; and imported gypsum, sugar and iron ore. The Port of Baltimore is ranked 14th nationally for total foreign cargo tonnage and 12th for total dollar value of cargo. The Port is responsible for $3.6 billion in personal wage and salary income. Activities at the Port of Baltimore generate $388 million in state and local taxes. The Port of Baltimore is also one of only two East Coast ports to have a 50-foot channel.

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 about 360 total ports in the US to win the highly acclaimed recognition. It is only the fourth port to win the award twice.