A container repair depot operated by Ports America Chesapeake at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal has been being relocated to an off-dock location to accommodate the Port’s surging growth in container volume. The move of the container repair depot provides more space for container handling at the dock and improves overall operational efficiencies for truckers. Ports America Chesapeake has partnered with Marine Repair Service to provide container repair at the new facility.
The new container repair depot is located at 2501 Broening Highway, across the street from the Seagirt Marine Terminal. Operating hours will run concurrently with Seagirt hours.
“Moving the container repair depot gives us space we need to accommodate the volumes coming to the Port now and in the future,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “It’s a move that strengthens the ability of the Port to lead Maryland’s economic recovery.”
“We continue to experience very strong container growth, especially with consumers making more purchases through e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) Executive Director William P. Doyle. “Working closely with our outstanding partner Ports America Chesapeake and with the service company Marine Repair Services, moving the repair facility off-dock will create more space to better handle rising container volumes. As we work toward being able to handle massive ships simultaneously and double-stacking containers on trains through the Howard Street Tunnel, this extra space will be a great asset. This move will also improve operational efficiencies for our truckers at Seagirt.”
The acreage gained by relocating container maintenance and repair will also allow for the development of an additional gate complex, providing a more fluid container delivery and pick-up experience.
“We anticipate the growth of the Baltimore container market to continue – with e-commerce driving additional volumes,” said Vice President of Ports America Chesapeake Bayard Hogans. “Ports America Chesapeake is working to effectively continue to grow volumes and expand our services for the betterment of our community. The introduction of this new repair facility is another step-in ensuring Seagirt Marine Terminal remains positioned as one of the most efficient gateways on the East Coast.”
“As one of the largest repair service companies in the port industry, we believe this off-dock facility will be very beneficial,” said Vincent Marino, president and CEO of Marine Repair Services. “It will allow us easier access to provide necessary repairs to containers and get those containers back into service quickly. We look forward to working with all our Port of Baltimore partners on this initiative.”
In the most recent reporting period in December, containers at the Port of Baltimore were up 12% compared to low points during the early stages of the COVID-19 emergency, the sixth consecutive month for a double-digit gain. Containers were also up 6% year-over-year compared to December 2019, the third consecutive month for a year-over-year gain since the pandemic began. The recent container volume increases include 13 “ad hoc” ship calls since mid-July totaling nearly 18,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) containers. Ad hoc ships are vessels that were diverted to Baltimore that were not on a regularly scheduled service.
The second, 50-foot deep berth at the Seagirt that will allow the Port to handle two supersized ships at the same time is moving forward through the Port’s public-private partnership (P3) with partner Ports America Chesapeake. To prepare for the second-deep berth, four new additional Neo-Panamax cranes are scheduled to arrive in July and will be operational later this year. The Port’s container business will also benefit from the Howard Street Tunnel project in Baltimore, which is being planned as a public-private investment between the federal government, the state, CSX and others.
The Port of Baltimore generates about 15,300 direct jobs, with nearly 140,000 jobs overall linked to Port activities. The Port ranks first among the nation’s ports for volume of autos and light trucks, roll on/roll off heavy farm and construction machinery, and imported gypsum. It ranks 11th among major U.S. ports for foreign cargo handled and ninth for total foreign cargo value.
The health and safety of the Port of Baltimore workforce is paramount, and the public marine terminals have maintained stringent CDC-recommended health and safety measures to ensure safety of its labor force, tenants and partners. MDOT MPA encourages the use of face coverings and social distancing measures for individuals working at the marine terminals, and encourages teleworking for those able to do so. Temperature screenings and other preventative procedures are also continuing.