There’s optimism flowing from the ports in Baltimore after 2020 finished much stronger than it began. Construction of a new berth in the port and eagerly anticipated work on the Howard Street Tunnel position the city for further growth as a cargo hub.
Like some other port cities around the country, Baltimore is seeing a lot of action. The tremendous rise in online shopping is good news for Baltimore’s burgeoning cargo industry. As Maryland’s Transportation Secretary, Greg Slater told Baltimore Business Journal:
“When you consider the global economic impact of Covid-19 throughout the year, the rebound we’ve seen in recent months at the Port of Baltimore is nothing short of tremendous. Our strong finish to 2020 reflects highly on Maryland’s economy, the dedication of our port workforce and the maritime industry’s confidence in our ability to safely and efficiently deliver their cargo to the marketplace.”
Close to many distribution, fulfillment and sorting centers, Baltimore is ideally situated for the boom in e-commerce. That’s why the Port Administration recently relocated a container repair depot, enabling a more “fluid” container delivery and pick-up experience at one of the largest container repair services in the industry. The relocation also created space for construction of an additional 50-foot deep berth at the Seagirt terminal, slated for completion later this year.
Patience and Perseverance
The long-awaited rebuild of the Howard Street Tunnel is also critical to the further success of Baltimore as a thriving cargo hub. Though the state has had to curtail and defer transportation spending, the reconstruction of the 125-year-old Howard Street Tunnel is slated to begin this year, with the goal of increasing the clearance to accommodate double-stacked shipping containers. Built through a public-private partnership, the Howard Street Tunnel is scheduled for completion in 2024:
The Maryland Port Administration finally secured the necessary funding for the $466 million projects late last year after winning a $125 million federal grant. CSX Corp., the Jacksonville, Florida-based railroad that owns the tunnel, also committed $113 million. Officials expect the expansion of the Howard Street Tunnel to increase the number of containers handled by the Port of Baltimore and generate new jobs.
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