Longshoremen in the port of Baltimore loaded 90 large pieces of agricultural equipment onto the NOSAC Sun this week, a shipment that maritime executives hope will persuade the Midwestern manufacturer of the machinery, J. I. Case, to become a regular user of the port.
"This is an opportunity for the entire port of Baltimore," said Diego Merida, line manager for Wilhelmsen Lines (USA) Inc., NOSAC's general agents for cargo bound for the Middle East and Far East.
The combines, headed for Saudi Arabia, were manufactured by Case in Racine, Wis., and shipped to Baltimore by train and by truck. Case has been using ports to the south and is not "that keen on the port" of Baltimore, Mr. Merida said.
NOSAC was able to persuade Case officials to give Baltimore a try, however, based on speed of service and a competitive price, including transporting the machinery to Baltimore and unloading the rail cars on the docks, as well as good ship connections to the Middle East.
A key element in the package was the stevedoring services provided by Ceres Marine Terminals Inc.
Ceres was responsible for receiv ing the combines, unloading them from rail cars and storing them on the docks. The combines have been arriving for about three weeks.
Ceres loaded the combines on the NOSAC Sun, a roll-on roll-off vessel with a ramp that allows cargo to be driven aboard. About 60 of the machines were put onto the ship Thursday, the rest yesterday.
"I think it went pretty well," said Christian M. Eyler, a supervisor for Ceres.
If the port performs well on this shipment, Case could end up shipping substantial amounts of equipment through Baltimore, Mr. Merida said.
Traffic officials at Case could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Mr. Merida hopes the company will be impressed by the service it received in Baltimore and will be inclined to use the port again.