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(Qnnflash) – In the past, the largest containership that had graced the Port of Baltimore was the Triton, another vessel from Evergreen’s fleet, with a container capacity of 14,424 TEUs. In contrast, the Ever Forward, which ran aground in the Chesapeake Bay after leaving Baltimore in March of the previous year, boasts a capacity of 12,118 TEUs.

Recently, the Ever Max made its debut at the Port of Baltimore, marking its maiden passage through the neopanamax locks of the Panama Canal on August 1. Navigating through the locks required some cargo to be unloaded at the Port of Balboa due to prevailing weather and draft conditions, and then reloaded at the Colon Container Terminal on the opposite side of the locks, a process made possible by road transportation.

The Port of Baltimore’s capability to accommodate vessels of this size is attributed to its 50-foot-deep channel and the presence of ultra-large Neo-Panamax cranes designed to serve such vessels effectively.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld emphasized the appeal of the Port of Baltimore for these massive containerships, highlighting the port’s efficiency in facilitating the movement of goods within the state and the broader region.

Maryland Port Administration’s interim acting executive director, Brian Miller, expressed the collaborative effort that makes the arrival of ships like the Evergreen Ever Max possible. Miller acknowledged the contribution of various stakeholders such as the International Longshoremen’s Association, truckers, pilots, tugs, freight forwarders, terminal operators, and private marine terminals, all of whom contribute to the port’s collective success.

Mark Schmidt, the vice president and general manager of Ports America Chesapeake, which operates the Seagirt Marine Terminal, celebrated the arrival of the Ever Max as a continuation of the Port of Baltimore’s growth trajectory.

The Port of Baltimore has reported a robust performance in 2023, with key commodities like roll-on/roll-off farm and construction equipment, containers, and general cargo all experiencing growth compared to the previous year. Specifically, roll-on/roll-off cargo has seen a 30% increase, containers have risen by 10%, and general cargo has grown by 8%.

Building on the achievements of 2022, when the port handled a record $74.3 billion in foreign cargo despite global supply chain challenges, the port’s upward trend in container business is expected to receive an additional boost from the ongoing expansion of CSX-owned Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore. This expansion project will enable double-stacked container rail cars, a significant advancement that will enhance the port’s connectivity and strengthen its capacity to handle increased cargo volumes. This project involves tunnel clearance enhancements in the historic 127-year-old tunnel and other upgrades along the route between Baltimore and Philadelphia. The completion of this tunnel expansion project will enable Baltimore to efficiently transport double-stacked containers by rail into the Ohio Valley and beyond, further solidifying its role as a vital East Coast port.

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