Port of Baltimore Announcement
November 20, 2009
Thank you for joining us today. It’s another beautiful day at the Port of Baltimore.
Thank you to President Rawlings-Blake and GBC President Don Fry for joining us. And of course, thank you to Ports America Chesapeake CEO Chris Lee for being here and helping make this possible.
We are here today to announce the beginning of a promising partnership between the Port of Baltimore and Ports America, which will connect the public and private sectors to bring thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic development to our state.
In these challenging economic times, there is no more important goal we share than creating jobs and advancing innovation in our state. It’s all part of our mission in Our One Maryland to strengthen and grow the ranks of an increasingly diverse and upwardly mobile middle class; to improve public safety and public education in every part of our State; and to expand opportunity to ever greater numbers of our people – the opportunity to learn, to earn, to create; the opportunity to enjoy the health of the people we love and need, as well as the health of the environment that our children and theirs will need to sustain life itself.
It’s all connected, and this partnership with Ports America will help us achieve our goals for creating jobs and expanding opportunity.
Ports America and the Port of Baltimore
The benefits of today’s agreement can be summed up in three words: jobs, jobs, jobs. Let me run through a few more specific ways it will help us drive progress.
The partnership will bring Maryland 5,700 new jobs – 5,700 new direct, indirect and induced jobs:
jobs to build a new berth and other transportation projects, jobs to operate the Seagirt Terminal and the new berth over the next half century, and jobs across this state that will benefit from a more efficient, more productive Port of Baltimore.
This includes 3,000 construction jobs for port and highway improvements and 2,700 jobs to handle increased container business.
This agreement will bring more than $1.3 billion to our state (over the next 50 years). On top of that, the agreement is predicted to generate $15.7 million per year in new taxes for our state. And that means more dollars for our number-one ranked education system, for expanding health care coverage, and for improving our state’s roads, bridges and infrastructure.
This agreement will help make our Port a more attractive shipping destination for businesses – resulting in more revenue to our state and additional economic development. That’s because as part of the partnership, Ports America has agreed to invest $105 million to build a new 50-foot berth with new cranes to service it. Further investment will be made for other improvements over the life of the agreement. A deeper berth will mean that our Port will be able to accommodate newer, larger ships that are being built – ships it cannot easily accommodate currently. This improvement will enable us to stay competitive in the future.
What’s more, Ports America has an incentive to increase the productivity of the Seagirt Terminal. That will mean a more successful port and additional economic development for Our State.
It should be stressed that Our State will continue to own the Seagirt Terminal. Under this agreement, Ports America will be leasing the terminal from the state of Maryland, and at the end of the 50-year lease term, operation of the port will again become the responsibility of Our State. During the time of the lease, Ports America will operate the Seagirt Terminal on a day-to-day basis and will make necessary improvements as they arise.
We are excited about the prospect of a partnership with Ports America. But we should note we are just in the beginning stages. Ports America has submitted a bid for the partnership, and in the coming weeks, we will seek input from the Legislature and the approval of the Board of Public Works as we work to finalize this agreement.
We look forward to a successful partnership between Ports America and the State of Maryland, working together and driving progress toward the stronger future we all prefer. Now I’d like to introduce Ports America Chesapeake CEO Chris Lee.