Port's cargo handling up 12% in third quarter

November 10, 1994|By Suzanne Wooton | Suzanne Wooton,Sun Staff Writer

Cargo handled by the port of Baltimore rose nearly 12 percent in this year's third quarter as the state-owned terminals stayed tTC on target for the best year since 1988.

General cargo moving through the five public terminals in Baltimore increased to 1.53 million short tons in the most recent period from 1.37 million short tons in last year's third quarter, according to a report released yesterday by the Maryland Port Administration (MPA).

The increase represented the ninth straight quarter of growth in cargo for the port of Baltimore.

Spurred by a continuing rise in containerized cargo and steel imports, general cargo was up 16 percent in the first nine months of this year to 4.7 million short tons from 4.05 million short tons last year.

If this year's pace continues, more than 6 million short tons of cargo would move through the port for the first time since 1988, when it recorded 6.2 million short tons.

Michael P. Angelos, executive director of the state agency that oversees the port, said state officials have worked to take advantage of global opportunities and to capitalize on the U.S. economic recovery.

The port, he said, benefits from its proximity both to the populous Baltimore-Washington consumer market and to major Midwest manufacturing centers.

"Consumer demand for such things as automobiles, electronics and other products has begun to catch up with the manufacturing sector, which is seeing a large demand for its goods domestically and internationally," he said.

The MPA also reported yesterday that its net operating income for the third quarter of 1994 was $1 million, an increase of $100,000 from the same period in 1993.

In the third quarter, exported cargo increased 13.2 percent while imports grew by 10.4 percent. Overall, steel tonnage at the port, representing primarily imports, has jumped 137 percent this year. Container traffic in the third quarter accounted for the largest portion of the port's general cargo, increasing 15 percent, to 1.1 million tons.

The cargo gains at the port of Baltimore, which began in 1992, reversed a decadelong pattern of losing business to Hampton Roads, Va..

While Hampton Roads still handles more cargo, Baltimore's recent gains have narrowed the gap between the two ports.

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