The Maryland Port Administration is inviting private companies interested in leasing and running the Seagirt Marine Terminal to submit their qualifications to become a partner in the venture, officials said Wednesday.
The move is another step toward finding a private partner to invest more than $100 million in capital improvements at the Southeast Baltimore terminal. Last fall, the MPA hired a consulting firm to help it draw up plans for the venture.
The state is calculating that it will need an influx of private money to pay for construction of a 50-foot berth at Seagirt in time for the 2014 completion of a wider, deeper Panama Canal. That project is expected to lead to increases in the size of the world's cargo ships, putting pressures on ports to provide deeper channels to remain competitive.
The port agency plans to evaluate the qualifications of companies and groups and to come up with a list of bidders that will be invited to submit proposals. A final recommendation to the Board of Public Works is expected by the end of the year.