Baltimore Really is a Port City
[By Nancy Menefee Jackson] If you only go to the Inner Harbor – admittedly, a great place to visit – you tend to forget that Baltimore is a working port.
In fact, the Port of Baltimore leads the nation in Roll-on/Roll-off cargo, which means anything that can be driven onto a ship, from cars to gigantic construction machinery that dwarfs those who drive it. It’s also one of the leaders in containerized cargo and it’s the only port on the East Coast with a 50-foot-deep channel and berth, able to accommodate the super-sized ships expected in the next few years when the widening of the Panama Canal is complete.
I recently had occasion during a National Maritime Day celebration to be standing high up on the deck of the N.S. Savannah, from which I had an incredible view of the marine terminals and the vessels calling on them. The sight of the Mediterranean Shipping Company’s Carla, which at first appeared to be a small container ship by the Francis Scott Key Bridge, mesmerized me. As she edged ever closer, guided by tugboats, her overwhelming stature became apparent. The tugs eased her against the terminal, underneath the giant cranes standing ready to unload her.
Because cargo is both valuable and vulnerable, strict security measures prevent the public from getting to see the working side of the Port. If you get a chance to visit a marine terminal, enjoy it – and take your camera.