Panama Canal + Port = Business in Baltimore County

Tim Murphy talks about the opportunity on the horizon for the Port of Baltimore pending larger shipping lanes opening in the Panama Canal.

by Tim Murphy
Baltimore County Department of Economic Development

From the World Trade Center at the Inner Harbor, visitors can take in a long view of the  natural waterways and man-made infrastructure leading into Baltimore. From this perch, the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA) recently gathered economic development professionals to look at how a major expansion of the Panama Canal can lead to economic expansion here at home. 

In just two years, the Panama Canal will open new shipping lanes capable of handling  vessels with three times the current cargo loads. These so-called “super ships” will make it cost-effective to carry goods from the Pacific Rim, through the Canal, and directly to customers along the East Coast.

A new Towson University RESI report, commissioned by the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore (EAGB), studied the local impact. The Port of Baltimore is one of only two Eastern seaports currently capable of handling these vessels. According to the RESI study, “the growth and investment in the supply chain will be exponential, impacting everything from shipping and rail line construction to warehousing and terminal development.”

Baltimore County Department of Economic Development’s Strategic Operations Plan, released earlier this year, intentionally aligns with these high employment clusters, including manufacturing, port-related industries, logistics, and distribution centers. Economic Development is also focusing on nine business investment areas, including Sparrows Point. A Sparrows Point Partnership advisory group is providing guidance to the County on the specific types of businesses and new jobs that will benefit from an expanded Panama Canal and Port.   

Attendees at the MEDA conference agreed that “opportunity knocks,” but to take full advantage, it will take a coordinated, focused and planned effort. Baltimore County is already ahead of the game.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Frank December 01, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Baltimore County's Department of Economic Development failed to include a citizen representative in the Sparrows Point Partnership advisory group. Their "coordinated, focused, and planned effort" is raising suspicions about business as usual under Kevin Kamenetz.
Steve December 01, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Actually, Baltimore is one of three ports on the East Coast capable of handling the Post Panamex ships. By the time the PanamaCanal is widened there will be others


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