The Maryland Port Administration has reached an agreement with Ceres Marine Terminals to create a private "miniterminal" at the Dundalk Marine Terminal.
The terminal will be similar to one Maersk Inc./Universal Maritime Service Corp. has operated at the Dundalk terminal since November.
Under the agreement, approved yesterday by the Board of Public Works, the MPA and Ceres will pay for improvements and modifications to an 88-acre site, which will be leased to Ceres.
The MPA will pay $800,000 of the $1.5 million cost to build a computerized gate, fence the area and make other improvements. Ceres will pay the rest and finance future improvements.
The miniterminal should not only create a more efficient operation by consolidating Ceres' other work sites at the Dundalk terminal, but it also should save the state money because Ceres, rather than the state, will pay for upkeep, said MPA Director Adrian Teel.
The MPA began reorganizing Dundalk Marine Terminal last fall.
Creation of the miniterminals was designed to make operations more efficient and give steamship lines some of the advantages available at the new Seagirt Marine Terminal.
Ceres is the stevedoring company for 13 steamship lines, including Atlantic Container Lines, Croatia Line, Lykes Lines and Polish Ocean Lines.
Gov. William Donald Schaefer said looking to the private sector "as partners in providing necessary goods and services" makes sense when Maryland's economy continues to struggle.