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Types of Cargo



Since becoming the port of entry for the first Volkswagen Beetle in 1963, the Port of Baltimore has delivered top-rate automobile service and handling capabilities. Today, Baltimore consistently ranks among the nation's top automobile ports.

Autos at Baltimore

  • More than half a million automobiles move through Baltimore's public and private terminals annually.
  • Baltimore's strategic Mid-Atlantic inland location means shorter distances between manufacturer, port and market, making exports a day closer.
  • Imports quickly reach dealers and consumers in the fast growing Baltimore-Washington consumer market, one of the largest and wealthiest in the nation.
  • Baltimore has close proximity to major interstates. Rail options include direct service to the Midwest, via Norfolk Southern's Harrisburg terminal hub and CSX's Annapolis Junction hub.

Baltimore is the Top Auto Handler

  • Quality: Baltimore treats its autos with "white glove" service, literally. Each vehicle receives the utmost care - from ship to processing facility and dealer delivery. The Port of Baltimore's Quality Cargo Handling Action Team (QCHAT) program is recognized worldwide as the most successful port-wide quality care program in the country. The QCHAT group meets monthly and includes all segments of vehicle handling and auto manufacturers. Major improvements in quality vehicle handling have resulted in reduced damage and advanced training programs.
  • Innovation: A bar code scanning system captures detailed information about every vehicle moving through Baltimore and the drivers who handle them, thereby tracking inventory and reducing damage.
  • Space: The 160-acre Fairfield/Masonville Terminals are home to much of Baltimore's public state-of-the-art auto processing and handling facilities. Adjacent to these facilities, the privately owned Chesapeake and Atlantic auto terminals also provide 165 acres for automobile processing and storage. The combined space auto handling terminals in the port offer a total of 608 acres for autos and RoRo cargoes.
  • And More Space: At the Dundalk Marine Terminal, approximately 300 acres are devoted to automobiles and other Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro/Ro) cargo.




Containers, a key commodity for the Port of Baltimore, account for most of the cargo that moves over Baltimore's public terminals. Highly competitive, Baltimore's strategically sound technological and intermodal advancements speed cargo to its destination.

Containers at Baltimore

  • More than 60 percent of the cargo handled at our public terminals is containerized. Baltimore already has in place a 50' channel leading up to Seagirt Marine Terminal.
  • One of the most productive container terminal in the North Atlantic (averaging 40 container moves per hour per crane).
  • Tonnage moving through the Port of Baltimore continue to grow, elevating the Port of Baltimore to one of the Top 15 container ports in the nation.
  • Two-thirds of the nation's population is within an overnight drive of our terminals. Not only is Baltimore well positioned to ship, receive and distribute containers, our port is nestled in the nation's fourth largest and wealthiest consumer market.

Seagirt Marine Terminal

  • Speed: With its seven high speed, post-Panamax cranes, including three dual hoist cranes, and the port's first-class labor force, the Seagirt Marine Terminal averaging 40 container moves per hour. One of the fastest in the North Atlantic! Truck turn times are also very quick, less than an hour for a dual move.
  • Location: Every marine terminal at Baltimore is just minutes from I-95, the primary north/south highway along the U.S. East Coast with good tunnel access to I-95 via I-895. This interstate highway connects with several major interstates, including I-70 which starts in Baltimore and heads west through the heart of the country.
  • Choice: Seagirt offers direct rail service to the Midwest with two Class 1 railroads, on-dock CSXT and nearby Norfolk Southern. Investment: The state of Maryland invested more than $220 million into making Seagirt the high tech facility it is today, and we're still going. Our electronic terminal management planning and control system called NAVIS links truck drivers, steamship lines, freight forwarders, customs brokers, stevedores, and the MPA to one system. With 12 RTG cranes, we have doubled our terminal capacity while maintaining our turn times to the best on the U.S. East Coast.


Forest Products


We specifically target forest products in our strategic business plan. Why? Because we have what it takes to nurture and grow this important business. Baltimore continues to experience double-digit increases in forest products. Some of the largest forest product firms in the world have taken root in Baltimore.

Forest Products at Baltimore

  • Superior Handling: Baltimore Forest Products Terminal, Balterm, has become one of the United States' leading handlers of imported forest products.
  • Superior Location: With its superb location in the Port of Baltimore, Balterm can provide low cost service.
  • Superior Stevedoring: Balterm and it's exclusive stevedoring company, Tartan Terminals, have over 180 dedicated employees who have received extensive training in the specialized needs of the forest products industry.
  • Superior Space: Balterm currently controls over 1.1 million square feet of warehouse space. With its location, facilities, equipment and personnel, Balterm is the ideal partner for getting your forest products from ships' holds to your customer's door in the most efficient manner.


Project / Specialized Cargo


Dating back to 1706, the Port of Baltimore's rich maritime tradition has produced skilled labor able to handle any type of cargo that comes across our docks.

Project Cargo in Baltimore

  • We handle specialized cargo to include, imported and exported machinery to build the world's complex projects, everything from automobile manufacturing plants, power plants, transit systems, airports to wind farms.
  • Approximately 250 trucking companies, including many specialized heavy haulers are capable of transporting any type of cargo and connecting Baltimore's piers with any spot in the United States and Canada.
  • We offer on-dock rail service with two Class 1 rail carriers, Norfolk Southern and CSXT, with direct connections to the Midwest.

Specializing in Niche Cargo

  • Experience: The port's first-class labor force delivers the best care and goes the extra mile to deliver superior handling for all types of cargo moving over the piers of Baltimore. We set the standard for providing the expertise in handling niche cargo.
  • Attitude: With the support of that superior labor force, Baltimore longshoremen offer unlimited midnight starts and a flex-time policy allowing gates to operate from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.Our rain-orshine weather policy keeps cargo constantly moving to its destination.
  • Location: Every marine terminal at Baltimore is just minutes from I-95, the primary north/south highway along the U.S. East Coast. This interstate highway connects with several major interstates, including I-70, which starts in Baltimore and heads west through the heart of the U.S.
  • Export Packers: For military specialized packaging, consolidation, vapor proof or shrink wrap requirements, our experienced export packers in Baltimore are ready to be of service.
  • Storage: Baltimore's modern facilities and covered space are the perfect combination when it comesto protecting specialized cargo. Our on-dock transit sheds are a unique counterpart to several neighboring warehouse facilities, and we are continually growing.
  • Investment: Baltimore is the home of "Big Red" the crane of cranes. This 300-ton manitowoc truck crane lifts heavy cargo and machinery swiftly and seamlessly.
  • Competitive Pricing: Two-thirds of the nation's population is within an overnight drive of our terminals, so delivery from Baltimore costs less. Not only is Baltimore well positioned to ship, receive and distribute cargo, our Port is located in the one of nation's largest and wealthiest consumer market.




It's no accident that the Port of Baltimore is the number one Roll-on/Roll-off port in the United States. Ro/Ro cargo requires special care - and we make it our business to move it with the lowest damage rates possible.

Ro/Ro at Baltimore

  • Baltimore handles the majority of the U.S. East coast market's share of Ro/Ro cargo annually.
  • Ro/Ro, self-propelled on and off a ship, is expensive to move, accommodate and requires special care. Our highly skilled labor force ensures that our Ro/Ro is handled more carefully here than at any other port.
  • Baltimore's proximity to the Midwest's major farm and construction equipment manufacturers has helped it become the leading U.S. port for combines, tractors, hay balers and in importing excavators and backhoes.
  • Reaffirming our position as the top U.S. Ro/Ro port, Baltimore serves as the East Coast hub for the largest Ro/Ro carrier in the world.

We are the Best in the Business

  • Skill: Baltimore prides itself on one of the lowest cargo damage rates in the country. And we keep getting better. The port's "Ro/Ro Rodeo" rounds up manufacturers to teach labor the unique handling and operational requirements for each type of vehicle. A full-time daily Ro/Ro training program for specific farm and construction equipment has also commenced.
  • Space: The Port's facilities handle more and more Ro/Ro cargo every year. Nearly 200 acres of pavement at Dundalk Marine Terminal keep us ready to handle more Ro/Ro equipment than competing ports.
  • Geography: With our strategic inland location, Baltimore has a distinct advantage. The Port of Baltimore is within an overnight drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population and is closer to the Midwest than any other U.S. East Coast port.
  • Quality: Year after year we deliver on our promise to have the lowest damage rate on Ro/Ro cargo in the country. Baltimore smoothly and efficiently handles more Ro/Ro cargo than any other port in the U.S. with the only Quality Cargo Handling Action Team(QCHAT) for Ro/Ro. Our team is comprised of labor, management and service providers that meet monthly to assess performance, identify problems and take corrective action.




HAZMAT and Certain Dangerous Cargo (CDC) Reporting and Permitting Requirements

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MPA Safety Department
Barbara McMahon

Purpose, Authority & General Requirements


    These regulations apply to persons at all port facilities, other than bulk petroleum terminals, and to the land and water carriers using port facilities in the Port of Baltimore. "Port of Baltimore" means the navigable waters of the Patapsco River and its tributaries to a line between North Point and Bodkin Point, and all port facilities contained there.


    Transportation Article, Sec. 6-206, Annotated Code of Maryland

    Title 11, Department of Transportation; Subtitle 05, Maryland Port Administration; Chapter 02, Hazardous Material

    General Requirements:

    A person may not introduce in the Port of Baltimore any hazardous materials, unless:

    1. The person complies with 49 CFR 171-174 and 176-178, and 33 CFR 126; and
    2. The cargo is properly classed, described, packaged, marked, labeled, placarded, and approved for highway, rail, or water transportation.

Prohibited Materials:

    The following materials are prohibited:
    1. Class 1, divisions 1.1 and 1.2 explosives, as defined in 49 CFR 173.50 and 173.53, weighing more than 100 pounds net explosive weight, although in-transit Class 1, divisions 1.1 and 1.2 explosives in any amount on board a vessel are exempt from this requirement if the explosives are not moved or disturbed while the vessel is in port;
    2. Class 1, divisions 1.2 and 1.3 propellant explosives, as defined in 49 CFR 173.50 and 173.53 weighing more than 2,500 pounds net explosive weight, although in-transit Class 1, divisions 1.2 and 1.3 explosives in any amount on board a vessel are exempt from this requirement if the explosives are not moved or disturbed while the vessel is in port.

HAZMATs and CDCs Requiring Permits:

    The following materials are prohibited:
    The following materials require a permit prior to arriving at the MPA facilities:
    1. 1.1, 1.2 explosives weighing 100 pounds net explosive weight or less. However, a permit may not be issued by the MPA until the appropriate request covered by 33 CFR Section 126.17 has been favorably acted upon by the U.S. Coast Guard.
    2. 1.1, 1.2 explosives for construction and repair. However, a permit may not be issued by MPA until all permits required by Federal, State, county and city authorities as appropriate, have been issued.
    3. 1.1, 1.2 explosives over 100 pounds net explosive weight in marine transit.
    4. 1.2, 1.3 explosives weighing 2,500 pounds net explosive weight or less.
    5. 1.2, 1.3 explosives weighing over 2,500 pounds of net explosive weight in marine transit.
    6. Class 7, radioactive fissile material as defined in 49 CFR 173.403: plutonium 238; plutonium 239; plutonium 241; uranium 233; or uranium 235.
    7. Class 7, "highway route controlled quantity" as defined in 49 CFR 173.401
    8. Blasting agents (Class 1.5 D), ammonium nitrate, and certain ammonium nitrate mixtures as specified in 49 CFR 176.415(a), the loading or unloading of which requires the written permission of the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port.
    9. Liquid hydrogen, moving under a United States Department of Transportation exemption.
    10. Division 6.1 poisons, (primary or secondary classification) as defined in 49 CFR 173.132.
    11. Division 2.3 "poisonous gas", as defined in 49 CFR 171.8.
    12. Division 5.1 oxidizing materials for which a permit is required under 49 CFR 176.415 or for which a permit is required as a condition of a Research and Special Programs Administration exemption.

Permit Procedures & Application Requirements

    Permit Procedures:

    At least 48 hours in advance of the arrival of the HAZMAT or CDCs on POB property, applicants shall submit the required information listed below (Permit Application Requirements) to the MPA either by fax 410-285-0921 or by email: bmcmahon[at]

    If the material does not have a proper permit, the HAZMAT or CDC will not be allowed on the port facilities.

    Permit Application Requirements:
    1. The shipper's name, address, telephone and fax numbers;
    2. The shipping name and identification number prescribed for the hazardous material as required by 49 CFR 172.101 [or by 49 CFR 172.102] including the technical name when the material is described as N.O.S. (not otherwise specified) entry;
    3. The hazard class prescribed for the material as required by 49 CFR 172.101, 49 CFR 172.102, or IMDG Code;
    4. The total quantity (by weight, volume, or as otherwise appropriate) of the hazardous material covered by the description;
    5. The identification of the type of packages, such as barrels, drums, cylinders, and boxes;
    6. The complete consignee's name and address including the port of destination on exports;
    7. The name, scheduled date of arrival of vessel involved;
    8. The date and estimated time of arrival of hazardous materials at the terminal and name of terminal;
    9. The mode of land transport involved in transporting the hazardous material to or from the terminal;
    10. Whether the shipment is breakbulk or container, including the container or boxcar number; and
    11. If the shipment is a container, whether there is a stripping and stuffing requirement.

    Requests For Permits For Radioactive Fissile Materials Shall Additionally Include:
    1. The name of each radioactive fissile material;
    2. The type of packaging and identification marking as prescribed by 49 CFR 173;
    3. The activity in each package of the shipment in terms of curies, millicuries, or microcuries;
    4. The transport index assigned to each package in the shipment;
    5. The fissile class of each package unless the shipment is exempt pursuant to 49 CFR 173.4

    Request for permits for ammonium nitrate shipments shall additionally include the composition of the material, including the percentage of ammonium nitrate by weight, along with a detailed description of the packaging.

    Special Requirements for Explosives, 1.1, 1.2, & 1.3:
    Time Limits For Explosives:

    Permitted cargo shipments of 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 explosives may not remain on the land area of a port facility for more than 6 hours.

    Requirements For Explosives-Carrying Vessels:
    1. A vessel carrying quantities exceeding 100 pounds of 1.1 and 1.2 explosives or 2,500 pounds of 1.2 and 1.3 explosives, or both, in transit within the Port of Baltimore or the Port of Cambridge, are required to establish a fire watch once tied up to any berth, pier, dock, or wharf.
    2. The fire watch shall be a member of the MdTA Police Department or other person as certified by the MPA Manager, Safety/Risk Management, and is considered a borrowed servant of the vessel.
    3. Costs incurred for the fire watch shall be paid by and for the account of the vessel carrying the explosives.
    4. Affected vessels shall be required to provide a fire warp fore and aft on the outboard side.

Imports and Exports


    Processing Time: 4 hours
    Fee: None
    Date Created: August 2, 2005
    Revised: October 23, 2007

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