Hapag-Lloyd to call Port of Baltimore
December 27, 2011 - LM Editorial
The Port of Baltimore – which has been gaining U.S. market share over the past two years – announced that yet another major ocean cargo carrier will be calling in 2012.
Hapag-Lloyd, the world’s fifth largest container company, will begin a direct, weekly container service from North Europe to the Baltimore beginning in February.
Baltimore, which is positioned within the third-largest U.S. consumer market, will be the first U.S. port of call for this service. The new business is expected to bring about 30,000 containers annually through the gateway.
State Governor Martin O’Malley, praised public- private partner, Ports America Chesapeake, for “playing a vital role” in attracting this new business.
“It demonstrates that our continued investment in the port of Baltimore is the right path to follow,” he said.
The new service will be part of Hapag-Lloyd’s Gulf of Mexico Express. It will begin in Thamesport, England and will transit to Le Havre, France; Antwerp, Belgium; and Bremerhaven, Germany. It will then travel to the U.S. and stop in Baltimore, then travel to Veracruz, Mexico; Altamira, Mexico; Houston; New Orleans; and Charleston.
Following the beginning of the new service, the Port of Baltimore will include three of the world’s top five container carriers in its portfolio.
Ports America Chesapeake will provide stevedoring and terminal services at Seagirt Marine Terminal, which has
access to the CSX National Gateway. Seagirt Marine Terminal and is also constructing a 50-foot berth and purchasing four super Post-Panamax cranes. The berth is ahead of its original schedule and will be finished in August 2012, two years before the completion of Panama Canal expansion.
According to port spokesmen, it is expected that a larger number of ships – including mega-sized vessels – will travel to East Coast ports that have the necessary channel and berth depth to reach their customers more quickly and less expensively than the current practice of going to West Coast ports and sending the cargo across the country on rail.
At the completion of its 50-foot berth, Baltimore will be only the second U.S. East Coast port to have both a 50-foot channel and 50-foot berth.
“The Canal expansion is but one of many factors driving infrastructure improvement projects,” said American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) President and CEO Kurt Nagle. “There are many other factors, including a growing population, increased demand for goods, new trade agreements, global competition and shifting trade lanes.”
Meanwhile, Baltimore continues to demonstrate tremendous progress despite a challenging global economy. Buoyed by a strong year in 2010, it now ranks 11th nationally (up from 12th) for the total dollar value of cargo and 13th (up from 15th) for the amount of cargo tonnage handled, according to recent statistics released by the U.S. Census.
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