Photo courtesy Port of Baltimore.

The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore’s state-owned, public marine terminals opened 2021 in impressive fashion, with all categories posting significant increases over 2020 lows during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, two categories – cars/light trucks and roll on/roll off farm and construction equipment – showed year-over-year gains of more than 20 percent in January 2021, compared to pre-pandemic numbers in January 2020.

January saw continued increases for cars/light trucks, general cargo, containers and roll on/roll off machinery compared to the COVID-19 low points in May and June. The cars and light truck category saw 44,697 units in January, an increase of 153.3 percent over a low point in May 2020 and a triple-digit percentage increase for the sixth consecutive month.

Roll on/roll off equipment, with 62,967 tons, was up in January by 27.5 percent over its low point in June 2020, while general cargo, at 879,256 tons, was up 19.8 percent compared to its June 2020 low – both of those represent the seventh consecutive month for double-digit percentage gains. The container category, with 50,674 boxes, was up 6.9 percent against its June low.

Compared to January 2020, the January 2021 figures in the roll on/roll off category were up 20.8 percent, while cars/light trucks were up 20.2 percent year-over-year. Containers were down 7.3 percent compared to January 2020 due to inclement weather delays that pushed some scheduled January arrivals into February.

“Starting off 2021, we are very encouraged with how our key cargos are performing,” said Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) Executive Director William Doyle. “New car purchases are up and the agriculture equipment market is improving which has helped our roll on/roll off business. The Port of Baltimore’s location near so many distribution, fulfillment and sorting centers makes it an ideal port to handle the rise in e-commerce purchasing we’ve seen during the pandemic. Though COVID-19 still impacts our industry, we have a lot of good signs showing this year.”