Boosted by a sharp increase in construction equipment and paper products, general cargo moving through Maryland Port Administration terminals increased 9 percent during the first quarter.
Cargo during the first three months of the year was 1.6 million tons, up from 1.4 million tons in the first quarter of 1997.
"Roll-off/roll-on" cargoes, the category that includes construction equipment and heavy machinery, increased 19 percent to 127,200 tons. Paper products almost tripled, to 46,096 tons.
Containers increased 5.5 percent to 1.1 million tons. Break-bulk cargo, a broad category that includes several products not transported in containers, increased 23 percent to 90,395 tons. Automobiles increased 2.2 percent to 66,081 tons.
"These first-quarter numbers are a good indicator of the diversified growth in our core areas," Tay Yoshitani, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration, said in a statement. "We are seeing top steamship lines bring increased container cargoes from the Far East and Europe, automobiles continue their healthy growth, and Latin America will be a major trade lane for us into the 21st century."
The port administration said it continues to dominate the "roll-off/roll-on" category, ranking first in the country in two-way international traffic with help from a strong European construction market and imports from the Far East. The port's share of forest products has expanded with the addition of new containerized roll paper from Northern Europe and Latin American imports.
Containers, which made up 69 percent of the quarterly tonnage, should increase this month with the start-up of Evergreen Marine Corp.'s weekly service to the East Coast of South America.
The port will also get help from a joint venture formed by CMA-CGM Group, Croatia Line, Italia Lone and Evergreen Marine Corp. that will link ports in Malta, Italy, France, Spain and Baltimore. The alliance is expected to add about 10,000 containers a year, generating $10.5 million in revenue.
Pub Date: 5/07/98