The first ship to take advantage of the new, midnight shifts at the Port of Baltimore is due in tonight and provisions have been made for the late-night work.
An Amtrans ship operated by Crowley Maritime Corp. is tentatively scheduled to arrive at the port tonight and have cargo loaded and unloaded beginning at midnight.
In their contract settled two weeks ago, members of the International Longshoremen's Association agreed to work an unlimited number of the late shifts. Workers will put in seven hours but will be paid for eight, with wages based on six hours of time-and-a-half and two hours of double pay.
Officials consider the midnight starts a potential strategic advantage for the port. The rival Port of Hampton Roads, Va., won provisions for only four midnight starts a month in its recently settled labor contract.
"The more midnight starts we get the more business we get," said Maurice Byan, president of the Steamship Trade Association of Baltimore Inc., a trade group of waterfront management.
Edward Burke, president of ILA Local 333, said labor and management have agreed to new, longer hours for their jointly operated hiring hall to accommodate the late starts.