A Soviet ship line that is gearing up for an anticipated increase in U.S.-Soviet trade has added the Port of Baltimore to its vessel schedule.
Baltic Shipping Co. made its first scheduled visit in many years to Baltimore yesterday. The line will be calling twice a month at Leningrad, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, an undetermined Southern port, Houston and New Orleans.
Previously, the line had been calling in the United States at New York; Philadelphia; Jacksonville, Fla. and New Orleans.
"We felt that Baltimore was a gateway that would add some new markets," said Rick Shannon, vice president/commercial manager of Rice, Unruh, Reynolds Co., the Philadelphia agent for Baltic.
Soviet ship lines are barred by law from calling at the Port of Hampton Roads, Va., because of the Virginia port's large naval base. Virginia port officials are seeking to have the rule relaxed, but Shannon said he is not sure the line would call at Virginia if it could.
"As far as I'm concerned Baltimore is as good a port," Shannon said. Hampton Roads and Baltimore are locked in a bitter struggle for dominance.
The line will call at Baltimore with ships capable of carrying standardized shipping containers, wheeled or "roll-on, roll-off" cargo, and break-bulk commodities. Break bulk includes steel and other goods not carried in the van-like, standardized cargo containers or in bulk form such as oil or grain.