The Port of Baltimore is winning key accolades. In various publications the port’s been rated as No. 1 among US ports for container berth productivity and the best port in North America for autos. Joseph M. Greco, director for Intermodal/Trade Development at the Maryland Ports Administration (MPA) attributes a large part of the port’s success to the public private partnership with Ports America Chesapeake at Seagirt Marine Terminal and the management and operating expertise. “Engagement in the entire container community is also a factor,” he tells AJOT. “We view the trucking community as partners and welcome their input and feedback regarding the day to day operations of our facilities and how to improve them. We have bi-monthly quality meetings where we engage all stakeholders, including carriers, equipment providers, labor, terminal operators, forwarder and brokers, truckers, etc.” Greco emphasizes how MPA takes a holistic approach to constantly try to improve the environment and attract additional business. “The efficiencies we provide are critical to attracting new business,” he says. “We get very high praise from BCO’s on our key performance indicators and business approach and that gets pushed to the carriers.” To determine the port’s productivity ranking, elements such as a ship’s arrival time at a berth, the number of container moves per hour at that berth and a ship’s departure time from that berth were factored in. Seagirt Marine Terminal is capable of doing 40 container moves per hour on each vessel, and 50-minute truck turns for a double move (exports/empties in and imports out). Contributing to this speed at Seagirt are its 11 cranes, four of which are super post-panamax, capable of reaching 22 containers across. “We take the same holistic approach with our roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) business in making sure there is a good working environment,” Greco says. “Not only do we have the majority of the ocean carriers here, we have services that support the auto industry.” This includes very strong auto processors and haul away trucking companies. Rail is important for the export of automobiles from the port. “Both Norfolk Southern (NS) and CSX have beneficial routings into Dundalk and Fairfield, respectively, that line up well with the manufacturing facilities,” Greco explains. More so, Greco stresses that the quality program for the port’s auto business is even more aggressive than on the container side. “They do a great job assuring that the automobiles are handled to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) requirements and exceed the standards of the industry, which is very comforting to the OEM’s,” Greco says. “We provide analytics to the OEMs to show where we are.” Every year the port holds a ro-ro “rodeo” in which some 200 drivers at the port receive four hours of hands-on training. “The rodeo is a big commitment,” remarks Greco. “Manufacturers provide equipment for the training. Other ports have tried to hold similar rodeos, but none are able to duplicate it as successfully as we have.” Last year the port opened a $22 million berth at its Masonville/Fairfield Marine Terminal. The Port of Baltimore is the nation’s No. 1 port for handling autos and light trucks, farm and construction machinery.