Maersk Line has launched a new service Southeast Asia/Vietnam and China service that will call at the Helen Delich Bently Port of Baltimore.
Beginning in July, with the first ships reaching the Port of Baltimore in August, the Transpacific/Panama Canal service will include a string of up to 13 ships with carrying capacity of 4,500 plus teu.
William P. Doyle, Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) director, said: “The new Maersk service will help commerce move through Maryland across the country and around the globe.
“The Port of Baltimore’s incredible e-commerce abilities, combined with the number of local distribution, fulfilment and sorting centres, make us very attractive to beneficial cargo owners.”
The service will arrive at the port’s Seagirt Marine Terminal, which is managed by Ports America Chesapeake under the public-private partnership with MDOT MPA.
Vessels in Maersk’s new TP20 loop service will originate in the Port of Vung Tao, Vietnam, head north to the ports of Ningbo-Zhoushan, China, and Shanghai, China, and then sail through the Panama Canal discharging goods in Norfolk and Baltimore.
Baltimore and Norfolk are the only two US ports in this service string and this new service reflects the need for more cargo gateways in the US as port congestion is at an all time high.
The Port of Baltimore is a prime gateway for containers with goods heading to the e-commerce market and for cargo sent to the Midwest via rail.
Over the past year, the port has serves 22 ‘ad hoc’ ships – vessels diverted to Baltimore that were not on a regularly scheduled service call – totalling more than 35,000 teu.
Governor Larry Hogan said: “This new service from Southeast Asia reflects the industry’s confidence in the Port of Baltimore and indicates how Maryland is in a great position to capture new business as the economy recovers.
“Our dedicated workforce and state-of-the-art infrastructure make the port one of Maryland’s top economic engines.”
An ongoing project to expand capacity to serve ultra-large ships will help give the port’s container business a lift.
Dredging is complete for a second 50 ft deep berth at the Seagirt Marine Terminal and four additional Neo-Panamax cranes arriving this summer are set to be operational by the end of the year.
Baltimore is among the few East Coast ports with the ability to handle some of the world’s largest vessels and the new deep berth will allow two of these massive ships to be serviced at the same time.
Complimenting the new berth are plans to expand Baltimore’s Howard Street Tunnel which will allow for double-stacked container rail cars, clearing a long-time hurdle for the port.
The Howard Street Tunnel project benefits from public-private investment from the federal government, Maryland, CSX, and others, and is expected to increase the port’s business by about 160,000 teu annually.
MDOT secretary Greg Slater said: “As the worldwide economy recovers from the pandemic, the maritime industry has seen the Port of Baltimore’s leadership, reliability, and efficiency.
“The industry also has seen Maryland’s commitment to invest in port infrastructure. Our port is ready to serve the industry and consumers today, and will be a leader well into the future.”