Amports, the port of Baltimore's largest automobile terminal operator, will shrink its corporate headquarters and move out of the World Trade Center as part of a deal to sell its aviation management division to an Australian company.
Amports employs 24 managers and support staff at its headquarters on Pratt Street and more than 400 laborers at three automobile terminals in the port. A handful of the headquarters employees will lose their jobs and a few others may be relocated outside Maryland as part of the restructuring, an Amports official said yesterday.
The company's growing Baltimore port operations, which will handle about 250,000 auto imports and exports this year, will not be affected by the transaction.
"We're not going to do anything that detracts from our business here in Baltimore on the waterfront," said Douglas Tipton, president and chief executive officer. "We've got a major investment here in people and in land and in customers."
Amports has been a key player in port efforts to attract more automobile business, landing new contracts with manufacturers of Porsche and Hyundai cars in the past year. The company expects to roll up to 300,000 cars across Baltimore's docks next year and is in the hunt for more waterfront space.
Amports also operates auto terminals in Jacksonville, Fla.; Brunswick, Ga.; and Benicia, Calif. It is expected that some of the corporate staff in Baltimore will move to Jacksonville, while others will relocate to offices at Amports' port facilities in Baltimore.
Tipton said details of the move are still being worked out.
"It's a desirable building and when we have space [open], we generally have people who want to go into it," said Judi Scioli, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Port Administration, which owns the World Trade Center.
Not all of Amports' 6,000-square-foot office space at the World Trade Center will be vacated. About six employees with the company's aviation division will have jobs with a subsidiary of Macquarie Global Infrastructure Funds, the Australian investment group that is buying the assets for $50 million.
Macquarie is expected to maintain an office in the World Trade Center and rename the aviation division, Tipton said. The deal, announced in July, is expected to close in the fall.