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Port of Baltimore trade up nearly 50 percent in 2011

Foreign trade at the Port of Baltimore jumped by nearly 50 percent in 2010, driven largely by shipments of sugar, salt and other bulk cargo, the state announced Thursday.

The port’s public and private terminals shipped 33 million tons in 2010, a 47 percent increase over the 22 million tons shipped in 2009. The value of the cargo climbed 37 percent to $41.5 billion.

“Thanks to forward-thinking business partnerships that create jobs, wise infrastructure investments and long-term contracts with major shipping lines, the port has been able to weather a global economic downturn and is now on track toward recovery,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a written statement.

Exports climbed 72 percent in 2009, to 18 million tons. Imports rose to 15 million tons, a 26 percent increase.

Bulk cargo, handled mostly by the private terminals, totaled 24 million tons in 2010, a 61 percent increase over the year before. Container traffic increased 17 percent and the port handed 44 percent more vehicles than it did in 2009.