In Article 9 of this volume we reported on the announcement that appeared in the July 17th edition of The Baltimore Sun. “Seagirt operator’s contract extended”, was the headline, and the story went on to report that the Board of Public Works had just extended the port operator’s contract for another year. The annual cost of this extension was given as $ 41.6 million.
That announcement gave us occasion to tell about our firm’s invitation to meet with personnel at Baltimore’s Seagirt Terminal three years ago, a meeting in which our offer to install our patented system evoked no interest from the officials in attendance. Satisfied with the status quo, those officials turned deaf ears to our offer to install the system, at our own expense, on about 35 acres which we offered to lease from them at $ 125,000 per acre per year. The status quo at that port, we were forced to conclude, must already have attained “gold mine” proportions.
Not really. In today’s (August 6th) edition, The Baltimore Sun had this to report:
“Seagirt Terminal slips to competition”
“Operating less than half capacity amid location, rail limits”
“Eighteen years after its opening was hailed as the beginning of a renaissance for the Port of Baltimore, the Seagirt Marine Terminal is operating at less than half capacity, despite longtime state efforts to bolster traffic at the only port terminal that exclusively handles lucrative container cargo.
“Containerized cargo remains the port’s bread and butter, accounting for 65 percent of the business at Maryland’s public terminals. But Seagirt continues to lose ground to its East Coast competitors, as container volume growth in Norfolk, New York and Savannah has far outpaced Baltimore.”
“… operating at less than half capacity, despite longtime efforts to bolster traffic …?” After turning down our offer to build, and donate, a patented container handling system that would efficiently reduce costs, create sizeable financial returns to the port and to Maryland taxpayers, and attract volumes far in excess of “its East Coast competitors”, do they really expect clear-headed state officials to let that “longtime efforts” boast go unquestioned?
And do they really expect that those clear-headed state officials will let that above-mentioned $ 41.6 million contract extension go unchallenged?
In spite of the fact that Seagirt continues to lose ground and has nothing favorable to offer investors, port officials are seeking an infusion of $ 130 million for dredging and for the purchase of larger cranes. “We have to create an environment that’s better than other ports so the ship owners want to come here,” the current executive director is reported to have said.
[But that’s exactly what we proposed three years ago. Are these folks in some kind of a trance?]