With grant funding now secured, The Port of Baltimore is moving ahead with its Berth 3 redevelopment project.
The Port of Baltimore is on a roll. In its 2018 financial year the port came very close to handling 1M TEU in a year for the first time, processing 998,516 TEU. Baltimore has been steadily on the way to the 1M TEU mark for some time, with annual growth averaging almost 5% from 2003 to 2017.
In 2010, the Maryland Port Administration (MPA) entered into a 50-year concession with Ports America Chesapeake, LLC (PAC) that included redeveloping the Seagirt marine terminal. PAC constructed a new 50-foot-deep container berth (Berth 4), purchased four 22-row outreach STS cranes and modified seven existing cranes, plus purchased new RTGs.
The MPA and PAC are now moving ahead to redevelop another berth to offer a depth of 50ft and redevelop more of the yard area with paved runways for RTGs. The first stage of the development is a US$30.4M project to upgrade Berth 3 to Super-post Panamax standards. The MPA has secured a BUILD grant from the US Department of Transportation for US$6.5M, with the State contributing US$7.8M and PAC US$18.4M. A factor in winning the BUILD grant was that Baltimore City is an economically distressed region, with an unemployment rate over 7% percent, compared to the national average of under 5%.
There is no deadline attached to the BUILD funding, but the MPA is planning to start the work in late 2019 with completion in 2020.
The Berth 3 project will be a catalyst for significantly more investment by PAC and the MPA at Seagirt. PAC is spending US$3M this year converting the terminal operating system to Navis N4 (from SPARCS), and has plans to add four more STS cranes and additional RTGs over 2018-2020.