Baltic Shipping Co., a Soviet-owned steamship line, has chosen Baltimore as a port of call on its new service between Northern Europe and the United States, the line's agent said yesterday.
Richard Shannon, a vice president of Rice, Unruh, Reynolds Co., the Philadelphia-based shipping agency, said details are still sketchy but that Baltimore will definitely be one of the U.S. ports Baltic calls on when it launches the new service in August or September.
Baltic provides service between the Soviet Union and the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Until late last year, maritime agreements between the United States and the Soviet Union limited Soviet ships to so-called bilateral service between the two countries.
New rules adopted at the end of last year permit Soviet ships to carry cargo from the United States to third countries as well, Mr. Shannon said.
It was not clear how many ships or how much cargo the port will handle. The line has not yet decided how many ships it will use or how frequently they will visit Baltimore, Mr. Shannon said.
The ships are expected to be combination vessels carrying both containers and other forms of cargo. Lines offering scheduled service typically call at each port at a regular interval, say once a week, once every 10 days or once every two weeks.
The line will provide service to Rotterdam in the Netherlands and to Bremen and Hamburg in Germany. U.S. East Coast ports will include New York in addition to Baltimore.
Other East Coast ports could be named later, Mr. Shannon said.
The news was a pleasant surprise for the new head of the Maryland Port Administration, Adrian Teel, who has just completed his first week on the job.
"I haven't been officially informed yet," Mr. Teel said. "I'm glad if someone has decided to come to the port of Baltimore. I'm happy to see them."