Port of Baltimore Posts Major Growth in 2011

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley today announced that the Port of Baltimore saw a 15 percent increase in the amount of cargo it handled in 2011.  That marked the greatest increase of growth by any major U.S. port last year.  The Port’s public and private marine terminals saw 37.8 million tons of cargo cross their docks in 2011, up from 32.8 million tons in 2010.  The total dollar value amount of that cargo was more than $51.4 billion, the Port’s highest dollar value ever and a 24 percent jump from 2010.

“The Port of Baltimore continues to demonstrate that it is one of our nation’s greatest seaports,” said Governor O’Malley.  “The Port has been able to endure tough economic times and demonstrate levels of success even greater than other ports thanks to long-term contracts with major shipping companies, unique job-creating business partnerships, and shrewd infrastructure investments.  The Port’s good performance last year is excellent news for the thousands of men and women who work at the Port and depend on it to provide for their families.”

Records Set in 2011

In addition to the dollar value record, the Port of Baltimore also established other records in 2011, including:

24 million tons of exported cargo
19.2 million tons of coal
551,000 auto units (highest in the U.S.)
402,135 containers at the public marine terminals
631,806 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEU’s)
Six million tons of containers at the public marine terminals
520,000 tons of wood pulp at the public marine terminals

Public Marine Terminals

In 2011, the amount of general cargo at the Port’s public marine terminals managed by the Maryland Port Administration reached 8.8 million tons, which was up nine percent from 2010 and just short of the all-time record of nine million tons in 2008.  General cargo is defined as non-bulk cargos.  At the Port of Baltimore, the majority of general cargo includes containerized goods, autos, forest products, and roll on/roll off cargo (farm and construction equipment).  Among specific commodities, roll on/roll off tonnage was up 51 percent; auto units increased 12 percent; containers were up four percent;  pulp, which is used to produce paper towels, tissues, and other paper products was up one percent;  and rolled paper, which is used to produce magazines and glossies was down seven percent due to the continued usage of e-readers.

Imported cargo headed to Baltimore’s public terminals reached 5.5 million tons, a seven percent increase from 2010.  Exported cargo leaving the public terminals for worldwide destinations was 3.3 million tons, a 13 percent increase.

Private Marine Terminals

Bulk cargos like sugar, salt, coal, and gypsum that are handled primarily by the private terminals reached 28 million tons, a 17 percent increase from 2010.  Coal experienced the greatest jump among bulk commodities in 2011, finishing with 19.2 million tons, a 38.5 percent increase from 2010.

The private marine terminals exported 20.4 million tons of cargo in 2011, a 39 percent increase from 2010.  Imported cargo at the private terminals was 8.3 million tons, a 15 percent decrease.

Current Port Rankings:

The Port of Baltimore was ranked the top port among 360 U.S. ports for handling farm and construction machinery, autos, trucks, imported forest products, imported sugar, imported iron ore and imported gypsum.

Baltimore ranked second in the U.S. for exported coal, imported salt, and imported aluminum.  Overall, Baltimore is ranked 11th for the total dollar value of cargo and 12th for cargo tonnage.

Economic Impact

Business at the Port of Baltimore generates about 14,630 direct jobs, while about 108,000 jobs in Maryland are linked to port activities.  The Port is responsible for $3 billion in personal wages and salary and more than $300 million in state and local taxes.


2011 was another record breaking year for cruising from the Port of Baltimore.  Last year 251,889 people sailed on 105 cruises from Baltimore, both of which are all-time records.  Baltimore is ranked fifth among East Coast ports and 14th in the U.S. for most cruise passengers.  The total economic value to the State of Maryland of cruising from the Port of Baltimore is about $90 million. Approximately 200 direct jobs in Maryland are generated by cruise activity.

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