By Paul Scott Abbott, AJOT

When officials of the US arm of German automaker Porsche learned that The Pasha Group was looking to develop a state-of-the-industry, on-dock vehicle processing center at the Port of Baltimore, they were quickly enthused.

After all, Porsche and Pasha have had a solid working relationship in San Diego since 2001, and Porsche had been bringing cars through the Port of Baltimore, using other facilities, since 2002.

Indeed, utilizing a new Pasha Automotive Services facility at the Port of Baltimore’s Dundalk Marine Terminal is in keeping with the upscale automaker’s corporate philosophy, which reads: ‘For Porsche, the road to the future is not a journey into the unknown. The road is determined by the clear, but flexible, path of the company.’

Porsche’s path through Baltimore constitutes the link between oceangoing roll-on/roll-off vessels that bring the cars from Germany and specialized trucks (and occasionally CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern rails) that deliver them to dealerships throughout the US Northeast and into the Midwest to as far away as Minneapolis. Flexibility, in this case, involves the use of environmentally friendly ‘green’ procedures at the processing center.

So far, the Pasha experience in Baltimore has been a positive one, according to Barry Long, manager of vehicle logistics for Atlanta-based Porsche Cars North America Inc., which serves as exclusive importer, marketer and distributor of Porsche vehicles in the United States. Some 40% of new Porsche vehicles sold in the United States move through Baltimore, he said.

‘Porsche makes unique luxury vehicles, so, obviously, we’re very interested in someone creating a unique environment for us,’ Long said.

The 100,000-square-foot facility, which began operating last August but did not have its formal opening ceremony until May 16, incorporates various green technologies.

Long noted, for example, that workers utilize a waterborne paint technology that is much friendlier to the environment ’ and more expensive ’ than using traditional solvent-bearing paint Pasha has been a leader in deploying green technologies at its largest facility, which encompasses 157 acres, including more than eight acres of buildings, at the Port of San Diego’s National City terminal. Such technologies include the installation of emission-reducing valves on forklifts and the reuse on succeeding voyages of dunnage materials used in securing vehicles on ships.

While more than 400,000 vehicles are projected to be processed this year through Pasha’s San Diego facility, the Baltimore facility is expected to process a comparatively low 15,000 Porsche units. In February, the Baltimore operation also processed the Maryland port’s first shipments of Miles Automotive electric cars built in China.

‘Baltimore is the logistics hub for all major ro/ro [roll-on/roll-off] car carriers and inland rail and truck services for the mid-Atlantic and various intermodal auto facilities,’ said George Pasha IV, president and chief operating officer of The Pasha Group, a diversified international logistics and transportation services company based in Corte Madera, CA. ‘Expanding our automotive services to be centered on the East Coast at the Port of Baltimore was a natural choice.’

F. Brooks Royster III, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration, commented, ‘With the Port of Baltimore’s knowledge of and prominent role in automotive port services, with QCHAT [quality cargo-handling action team] and other quality-control capabilities, the sophisticated vehicle processing capabilities of The Pasha Group’s operations and our port was a natural ‘win-win’ situation.’

Other Pasha US operations include a joint-venture vessel that transports ro/ro cargo between San Diego and four ports in Hawaii; vehicle distribution services in Hawaii; rail ramp and distribution facilities in Jackson, MS, and Nashville; and joint-venture rail ramps and/or vehicle processing facilities in Jacksonville, FL, and the Alabama cities of V