A decline in cargo at the Port of Baltimore during the third quarter contributed to nearly a million-dollar shortfall in expected revenues at the Maryland Port Administration.
MPA revenues for the quarter ending Sept. 30 were $8.93 million compared to budgeted revenues of $9.76 million. In the third quarter of last year, revenues were $8.15 million.
Although revenues were below expectations, the port appears to be making some progress in reducing its deficit. The operating deficit in the third quarter was $460,000 compared with an expected deficit of $789,000.
"In the following quarters we will start to see the benefits of the downsizing," said MPA Director Adrian Teel, who laid off 46 workers in October and instituted other cost-cutting measures.
Teel said he doesn't expect more layoffs to be required. "If nothing happens, the cuts we've made will put us on the right track," he said.
Terminal revenues for the quarter were $331,000 less than budgeted and $421,000 less than the previous year.
Port officials said the decline was the result of a 6.1 percent drop in billable cargo tonnage.
Revenues from Maryland International Terminals, which operates the Seagirt Marine Terminal, were $319,000 less than expected. That is expected to improve next quarter with new business from OOCL line.
The port's financial picture was hampered by 6.7 percent decline in cargo tons during the quarter. The sharpest drops were in containerized
cargo, down 6.2 percent; lumber, down 82.4 percent; and other break bulk cargo, down 15.1 percent.
Automobile cargo increased 2.8 percent and steel increased 15.6 percent during the period, officials said.
For the first nine months of the year, cargo volumes were up 1.3 percent. Steel tonnage, up 54.4 percent, showed the biggest increase. The largest loss was in lumber, which was down 67.1 percent.