In advance of a situation that could mean trouble for the Port of Baltimore's Seagirt and Dundalk public marine terminals, The Maryland Port Administration (MPA) is taking action.
In a press release issued Thursday morning, the MPA announced they would be opening the terminals on Saturday, December 29 for the delivery and receiving of cargo. The decision comes amidst labor talks between the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) and the United States Maritime Alliance.
The current contract between the ILA and the maritime alliance is due to expire at midnight on December 30, and if an agreement isn't reached, it could affect shipping and receiving at the Port of Baltimore and 15 other ports on the East Coast and Gulf Coast.
"While we hope for a resolution before the deadline, at the same time we want to do as much as we can to keep the cargo supply chain moving," said MPA Executive Director James J. White. "Opening on Saturday allows cargo owners and trucks to come to the Port of Baltimore, deliver or receive their cargo and get it moving before a possible labor work action."
Access gates at the Seagirt Marine Terminal, which is the Port of Baltimore's primary container terminal, will be open this Saturday from 7 am to 6 pm. The Dundalk Marine Terminal, which includes containers, autos, farm and construction machinery and breakbulk, will be open Saturday from 6:30 am to 6pm. Normally the Seagirt and Dundalk marine terminals are open Monday through Friday and not on Saturday for the delivery or receiving of cargo.
The Port of Baltimore is ranked as the top port among 360 U.S. ports for handling farm and construction machinery, autos and light trucks, imported forest products, imported sugar, imported iron ore and imported gypsum. Baltimore ranks second in the U.S. for exported coal, imported salt, and imported aluminum. Overall Baltimore is ranked 11th for the total dollar value of cargo and 12th for cargo tonnage. Business at the Port of Baltimore generates about 14,630 direct jobs, while about 108,000 jobs in Maryland are linked to port activities. The Port is responsible for $3 billion in personal wages and salary and more than $300 million in state and local taxes.