Port of Baltimore secures new MSC service broadening US East coast connectivity with the Indian subcontinent

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Ports America Chesapeake and the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) have secured a new MSC Indian subcontinent and Mediterranean service for Baltimore.

The Indus 2 service will include an eight-ship string of 85,000 TEU container capacity vessels that will travel to the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore and seven other ports around the world.

The first ship in this new service, MSC Michaela, will begin loading cargo in India on August 30, and will visit two ports in the country– Gujarat’s Port of Mundra and JNPT in Mumbai.

From there, ships will transit the Suez Canal to the Port of Gioia Tauro in Southern Italy, then the Port of Sines in Portugal.

Ships will then visit US-based ports in Norfolk, Baltimore, Miami and Freeport before returning to India.

Governor Larry Hogan said, “The international maritime industry continues to show its confidence in the Port of Baltimore and its growing container capabilities.”

“The new and expanded business we’re seeing today is a direct result of the investments we’ve made at the port and will have a tremendous positive impact on job growth and Maryland’s overall economic recovery.”

MDOT secretary Greg Slater said, “The Port of Baltimore is attracting new business because the industry recognises we have the facilities, logistics and workforce to bring goods to market reliably and efficiently. This new service from MSC is an important part of the port’s bright future.”

“MSC is a great partner and a top container service provider, and we’re very pleased to continue our long working relationship with them with this new Indian subcontinent-Mediterranean service,” said MDOT MPA Executive Director William P. Doyle. “Baltimore is well positioned on the ecommerce and intermodal side of the logistics chain – we’ll be loading exports for the backhaul as well too.”

Import/export demand for containerised cargo in the US has substantially increased over the past year and with that port congestion is at an all-time-high.

Ports America Chesapeake Vice President Bayard Hogans said, “The addition of the new Indian subcontinent service further enhances the Port of Baltimore and Ports America Chesapeake’s position as a key gateway for US imports and exports.”

“This service will provide our customers with new routings and a more efficient supply chain.”

The new MSC service follows another announced by the Port of Baltimore in June – a new Southeast Asia/Vietnam and China service with Maersk Line, which brings its first vessel to the port in early September.

Ports like Baltimore, which is a prime gateway for containers filled with goods heading to the e-ecommerce market and for cargo sent to the Midwest via rail, are needed to land cargo in the US.

The port has served 23 ad hoc ships over the past year – vessels diverted to Baltimore that were not on a regularly scheduled service call – totalling more than 35,000 TEU.

Baltimore is also in the midst of a project to expand capacity to serve ultra large container ships with dredging complete for a second, 50-ft deep berth at the Seagirt Marine Terminal and four additional Neo-Panamax cranes are expected to arrive during the first half of September and be operational by the end of the year.

The port is one of a few East Coast ports with the ability to handle some of the world’s largest vessels, and the new deep berth will allow two of these massive ships to be serviced at the same time.

Business at the Port of Baltimore has also greatly recovered since the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Container traffic at the port was up 19% in June 2021 compared to the same period last year.

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