The Mediterranean Shipping Co. will increase by several thousand containers the cargo it moves through the port of Baltimore under an agreement announced yesterday with the Maryland Port Administration.
The agreement gives the company special rates for cargo moved through the Seagirt Marine Terminal to and from southern and western destinations. The increased business in the port stems largely from improved rail service at the 2-year-old Seagirt terminal.
Last year, the CSX Corp., one of two major railroads serving Baltimore, opened a rail yard at Seagirt as it closed its Potomac Yards facilities in Alexandria, Va. That will enable companies like Mediterranean to ship more cheaply by rail directly from the port, rather than trucking cargo first to Alexandria.
"We want to make Baltimore a hub," said Capt. E. Lorenzo Di Casagrande, a vice president for Mediterranean.
Mediterranean, based in Sorrento, Italy, sends vessels to Baltimore several times a month. While the announcement will not mean more ships at the port, it does mean more
man-hours for port workers with the added containers to load and unload.
Port officials said they hoped other shipping companies would follow Mediterranean's lead in moving cargo directly from Seagirt by rail.
"If Mediterranean Shipping Company can start to 'land-bridge' cargo to various destinations in the South and West, then other lines may do the same," said Adrian G. Teel, executive director of the MPA.
The agreement was the latest indicator that the port is witnessing a resurgence after years of sharp decline. Last month, Maersk Line of Denmark said it would increase calls here by 25 percent.