Seagirt candidate decides not to come

November 16, 1990|By John H. Gormley Jr.

Yangming Line, a Taiwanese steamship company that had been a prime candidate for the state's new Seagirt Marine Terminal, will not be bringing its ships to Baltimore.

Yangming has announced a new schedule for its ships on the East Coast, which does not include Baltimore even though the line has decided to drop Norfolk, Va.

In the spring, the line will begin a space-sharing arrangement with Hanjin Shipping Co., a South Korean line. East Coast ports of call for the ships of the two lines will be Savannah, Ga., Wilmington, N.C. and New York.

Yangming's ships called on Baltimore until two years ago, when the line diverted its vessels to Norfolk. The line was not happy with the amount of business it was doing there, however, encouraging hopes that Yangming could be lured back to Baltimore.

This summer, Gov. William Donald Schaefer visited Yangming officials in Taiwan in hopes of persuading the line to come to Seagirt. Last month, Brendan W. O'Malley, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration, presented Yangming officials with a proposed Seagirt agreement.

"We are disappointed," Mr. O'Malley said yesterday. "We had known Yangming was restive in Norfolk."

Robert W. Bassillo, an executive with Solar International Shipping Agency Inc., which represents Yangming in the United States, said the new port rotation will save the line four to five days on its schedule. The new agreement will be for two years, he said.

Alec Y. Lee, a Solar vice president, said the decision means the line will not be coming to Baltimore, but he said the company could take another look at the port selection in about a year. "Next year we'll have to see the market situation," he said.

Edwin F. Hale, president of Baltimore-based trucking and barge companies, who accompanied the governor on his trip to Taiwan in August, said yesterday, "It's not the end of the world. I still think they liked our proposal. I still think they have Baltimore in their heads."

Mr. O'Malley said his agency will continue to try to convince the line that it is passing up a considerable amount of business by skipping Baltimore. "They're missing a large slice of the market," he said. "I don't think the game is over. We don't consider it over."

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