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Port moves up to 11th in U.S. in value of goods shipped

The Port of Baltimore ranked 11th nationally in terms of the value of cargo shipped through its public and private terminals in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The $41.5 billion in cargo last year was a 39 percent jump over the year before and enough to nudge Maryland’s port up from the 12th spot among the 360 nationwide.

Foreign cargo was up 47 percent in 2010, to 33 million tons.

“While a more favorable worldwide economic climate is a contributing factor, the Port of Baltimore has also been able to rebound because of its high productivity, outstanding labor and geographic advantage placing us closer to the Midwest than other Eastern ports,” said Jim White, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration.

Port traffic increased through the first six months of 2011 as well. General cargo at the public terminals was up 14 percent; roll on/roll off, 51 percent; autos, 10 percent; containers, 9 percent; and paper, 6 percent.

Seagirt Marine Terminal is undergoing an upgrade headed by Ports America, the operator that holds a 50-year lease on the terminal. Its 50-foot berth is scheduled to open next summer and will be able to accommodate larger cargo ships heading to and from Asia. The widened Panama Canal channel to open in 2014 will bring ships from China and port officials hope Baltimore will be an attractive destination for goods produced in growing economies in Southeast Asia.

“We are pleased that the port continues to move up in rankings as companies around the world realize that Baltimore provides a quality gateway for doing business,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a written statement.