A sharp rise in e-commerce demand meant the Port of Baltimore’s TEU volume increased by 17.7% between June and November 2020 as it continued to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Maryland Port Administration (MPA).
The MPA said the rise in e-commerce was one of the emerging trends for container cargo during the pandemic and this has been reflected in the Port’s growth and volume.
MPA Executive Director William P. Doyle said the Port was well-equipped to handle the continued increase in e-commerce trade because of the number of distribution, fulfilment and sorting centres in close proximity.
“We anticipate that long-term reliance on e-commerce will continue,” Doyle said.
“While we are pleased with our November results, it’s important to remember we are still dealing with COVID-19 and that continues to make this a very unpredictable maritime trade environment.”
Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Secretary Greg Slater said consumer demand is increasing and that supply chain stakeholders see the Port as an efficient way to reach their consumers.
“The Port’s workforce has performed safely and with great efficiency throughout the pandemic, and that gives the industry tremendous confidence in our ability to bring critical goods to market,” Slater said.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan paid tribute to the Port’s labour force for keeping the regional and national supply chains functioning.
“The thousands of dedicated men and women of the Port of Baltimore’s labor force have worked hard to make certain our supply chain remains open and goods safely reach consumers,” Hogan said.
“The Port of Baltimore remains a leader in Maryland’s economic rebound, and these numbers give us optimism for continued strong recovery.”
In addition to higher volumes, the Port continues to gain new and increased business from customers.
Three Nikola semi-truck prototypes that run on zero emission, battery-electric power arrived at the Port of Baltimore from Nikola’s production facility in Germany and will head to their Nevada facility for testing.
A hydrogen fuel cell version which also offers zero emissions in addition to a greater mileage range between hydrogen refuels is expected in late 2021.
Mercedes-Benz is processing 600 units a day, a higher amount than normal, and is scheduling 12- hour work shifts, seven days a week to keep up with consumer demand.