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For many people who anticipated a new Mercedes-Benz for the holidays, the Port of Baltimore may have helped deliver that wish — while also helping ease unprecedented levels of congestion at other American ports. In December, the Port of Baltimore welcomed the vessel Noble Ace, which discharged 1,800 new Mercedes-Benz vehicles, including approximately 600 that had been scheduled to be unloaded on the West Coast.

The International Longshoremen’s Association, Ports America Chesapeake, Mercedes-Benz and the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) teamed up to prepare to handle the increased volume.

“The international maritime industry believes in the Port of Baltimore, and this increase in business reflects that confidence,” said Gov. Larry Hogan. “Throughout the pandemic, the men and women who work at Maryland’s Port have maintained it as a solid, reliable link in our nation’s supply chain. Today, cargo is moving through the Port and heading to homes, retail stores, and other businesses across the country.”

The Mercedes-Benz shipment is among several recent strides made by the Port of Baltimore to help address supply chain issues:

  1. Recently the Port began handling fuselage components of the Airbus A220 series of aircraft.
  2. The Port of Baltimore has begun handling Kubota farm and construction equipment on roll-on/roll-off (ro/ro) vessels instead of container ships due to supply chain issues. Japan-based Kubota is one of the largest manufacturers of farming equipment in the world.
  3. The Port of Baltimore continues to receive “ad hoc” ships — vessels diverted to Baltimore that were not on a regularly scheduled service call. Since July 2020, 26 ships have been diverted to the Port of Baltimore due to nationwide port congestion.

“Cargo continues to move through the Port of Baltimore,” said MDOT MPA Executive Director William P. Doyle. “Our creative ro/ro solutions for cargo and strong e-commerce abilities, combined with our efficient warehousing and distribution markets, are making us an extremely attractive option for cargo owners to avoid supply chain issues at other ports. We look forward to continuing to work closely with all of our partners, including our great truckers, to bring cargo through Maryland.”