Hale may take trucking, barge operations public

November 08, 1991|By John H. Gormley Jr.

Edwin F. Hale Sr., fresh from his victory in the fight to control Baltimore Bancorp, said yesterday he may convert his Baltimore-based trucking and barge operations into a publicly traded corporation.

Port East Transfer Inc. and Hale Container Line Inc. are owned entirely by Mr. Hale. Together, they employ more than 500 people.

"I'd say that by this time next year it would have been accomplished," Mr. Hale said of his plans to take the companies public.

Mr. Hale, who was born in Highlandtown and grew up in Sparrows Point, rose to prominence on the success of his transportation companies. He was recently installed as chairman of Baltimore Bancorp, parent company of the Bank of Baltimore, after leading a proxy fight for control of the company.

Although Mr. Hale is a fiercely independent man who had no partners and managed his own businesses, he suggested he may be ready to accept less than absolute control of the truck and barge companies.

"I turn 45 next week," he observed. "With the management team in place [at Port East and Hale Container Line], I would feel comfortable doing something like this."

The companies have been profitable this year and last, he said, although he declined to divulge earnings. He expects Hale Container Line, the barge company, to generate $16 million in revenues this year and Port East, the trucking company, to bring in $28 million.

Port East operates about 225 trucks. Hale Container Line has six barges that specialize in the transportation of cargo containers. Steamship lines hire the barges to move cargo to and from ports where their ships do not make direct calls.

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