The port of Baltimore handled a record-breaking 10.3 million tons of general cargo and nearly 908,000 20-foot- equivalent units of containers in the 2017 fiscal year ending June 30, the Maryland Port Administration announced Thursday.
The records represent a 6 percent increase in general cargo and a 9 percent increase in container volume from the previous fiscal year, according to the port administration.
Container traffic has spiked since super-sized ships from Asia began arriving through the expanded Panama Canal last year.
“The Port of Baltimore is a leading economic engine for our state and continues to benefit from a tremendous year, ” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement. “Our administration will continue to ensure the Port remains one of the busiest ports in the nation.”
A 13 percent increase in paper materials was responsible in part for the port’s general cargo increase. That increase was driven by demand for packaging materials, port spokesman Richard Scher said.
Low demand for mining and construction equipment caused a 7 percent drop in the volume of roll-on/roll-off cargo, Scher said.
Cars, which remain the Baltimore port’s top commodity, slipped 2 percent from the previous fiscal year, which had been a record high for the port, he said.
“We’re still expecting a strong year for autos to finish this calendar year 2017 and optimistic we will remain the No. 1 U.S. auto port,” Scher said.
The port handled 5.3 million general cargo tons in the first half of the 2017 calendar year, the most in its history.